Government Confirms Repeal Of Smokefree Legislation Despite Protest, Petitions, And Litigation
Despite awareness of the continued threat of smoking-related deaths, the government remains determined to repeal Smokefree Legislation by March 8th, opposing any review from the Waitangi Tribunal. The government plans to forge ahead despite failing to provide any plausible justification or evidence to support their decision while parroting arguments made by the tobacco industry, whose interests seem to be the only ones being served by the repeal.
Equally troubling is the absence of consultation with Māori leaders and communities on this issue. The Crown’s failure to engage with Māori, who are disproportionately affected by smoking-related health issues and breaches the Crown’s duties under Te Tiriti o Waitangi.
Of particular concern is the government's intention to push through the repeal without any public consultation.
This week, the Government reaffirmed its commitment to prioritising Māori interests and developing a health strategy tailored to Māori communities during the Waitangi Anniversary celebrations at Waitangi. Regardless of these promises, no concrete action has been taken, and no such strategy has been released to date.
Sue Taylor, Chairperson of Te Rōpū Tupeka Kore says, “Māori have already clearly indicated the direction forward for smoking in Aotearoa and this plan was fully supported, and that’s the current legislation. Leave it alone”.
Hone Harawira, former Minister of Parliament says “Kotahitanga [Māori concept of unity] is now more meaningful than ever. Māori and non-Māori alike are unified and ready to stand up against the Goliaths attempting to push their own selfish agendas without reason or support from our communities.”
"We are sick and tired of having to jump through burning hoops to get legislation that accurately represents the current realities of our people, just to have a minority of a few come along and take all that hard work away. We will not stand for it, and it will not dictate our Mana Motuhake [self-determination]."
The voice of our communities has spoken loudly, including through a petition to put people over profit for a smokefree future. It remains to grow, now reaching over 52,000 signatories. Put our People over Profit - Stop the Repeal of the Smokefree Legislation | OurActionStation
We urge the Crown to deliver solid, truthful answers to its constituents, act with integrity and make unbiased, evidence-based decisions concerning regulation of tobacco use alongside Māori leadership.