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The Repeal No One Asked For

As the Coalition Government rushes to repeal the Smokefree legislation today, Aotearoa’s largest Māori Public Health Organisation are just as concerned that they do not have an effective replacement to combat smoking in the future.

Hāpai Te Hauora are long time advocates of the Smokefree legislation knowing the benefits it would have had for everyone, particularly Māori and this has created a lot of uneasiness for Chief Operating Officer, Jason Alexander.

"This repeal has sparked outrage and bewildered community members, health advocates, and tobacco control experts. There is no logic to the repeal, New Zealanders don’t support it and we are yet to see any new initiatives for tobacco control. So exactly what measures do they have moving forward to continue to reduce smoking in this country?".

Alexander knows the proposed repeal announcement scheduled for Parliament today signifies a dangerous regression in public health policy.

"Right now 17.1 percent of Māori adults smoke every day compared to 6.1 per cent of Pākehā. It will cost billions of dollars in health care to repair the damage that will be caused if we allow this law to be overturned. This is a short-sighted move that will extend our battle against tobacco-related illnesses and ultimately cost lives."

Leitu Tufuga, National Tobacco Control Advocacy Lead for Hāpai Te Hauora knows the mood of the communities she works with.

"The support is overwhelming for this Government to reduce tobacco being sold in their neighbourhoods, particularly in low socio-economic areas. The repeal not only undermines years of progress in tobacco control but is a disservice to Māori and future generations."

Hāpai Te Hauora urge Members of Parliament to stand up for the health of their constituents and stand up against the repeal of Smokefree legislation. Together, let us reaffirm our commitment to building a healthier, smoke-free future for all New Zealanders.

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