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45,000+ Kiwis Rally To Put People Before Profit - Oppose The Repeal Of Smokefree Legislation

In a resounding call for public health and well-being, over 45,000 Kiwis have voiced their opposition to the new government's decision to repeal the globally acclaimed Smokefree legislation. The government and their announcement to repeal the world-leading Smokefree legislation has triggered widespread concern, both domestically and internationally, with experts questioning the government's commitment to public health.

Hāpai Te Hauora National Māori Public Health organisation Interim CEO Jason Alexander states the government has indicated "that they are supportive of achieving Smokefree 2025, however, their actions say otherwise - rejecting implementation of all three measures of this legislation vastly impacts the health of all communities, particularly Māori and Pacific".

The " Put Profit before People - Stop the Repeal of Smokefree Legislation" petition, which has garnered significant support, urgently calls on the government to halt the repeal of the Smokefree Environments and Regulated Products (Smoked Tobacco) Amendment Act. The petition emphasises the need to prioritise people over profit and calls for the full implementation of the Smokefree Legislation, with Māori leadership at the forefront of its recommendations.

Leitu Tufuga, National Tobacco Control Advocacy lead at Hāpai Te Hauora, emphasises that supporting the retention of Smokefree legislation is a clear choice for whānau who believe in creating a Smokefree generation and securing a healthier future for Aotearoa. The petition has gained momentum, attracting over 45,000 signatures from Kiwis who share concerns raised by health experts. The petition underscores the potential to save 5,000 lives annually from tobacco-related harm and conserve 1.3 billion dollars in the budget.

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Hone Harawira from the National Smokefree Taskforce emphasises the awareness within Māori whānau, Pacific, and vulnerable communities about the far-reaching implications of the repeal. "Over 45,000 whānau are united in their opposition to the government's purported backdoor dealings with the tobacco industry." He asserts that the repeal would exacerbate existing inequities and serve as a mere tick-box exercise for the government, whereas prioritising public health could save and protect countless lives.

"Smoking killed my mother at an early age. It is utterly cynical to use addiction as a way of funding tax cuts!Janine M. 2023-11-28"

"I see the harms of tobacco addiction every day. The vast majority wish they had never started. It is a myth that this is a question of free choice. Me must do everything that we can to reduce the power of cigarettes over people and their health outcomes.Tim L. 2023-11-28"

The petition will be formally presented at the Parliament grounds on Wednesday, December 13, from 1 pm to 2 pm. Te Roopu Tupeka Kore, alongside Tala Pasifika and rangatahi, will be present to hand over the petition. The organisers stress the importance of a response from Minister Shane Reti and have requested that the petition be presented to Debbie Ngarewa-Packer.

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