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Open Letter To Hon Casey Costello

Minister Costello, we would like to invite you to meet with the Co-Founders of Vape Free Kids NZ on 27 March 2024 to hear the concerns of parents and whānau impacted by the escalating youth vaping crisis in New Zealand.

As you know, we have sent you multiple requests for a meeting since December 2023 when we found out you are the Minister tasked with solving the youth vaping crisis in our country. You have said, when pressed by the media, that you envisage meeting with us at some point.

On behalf of everyone who has been imploring you to listen to the voices of New Zealand parents and whānau, we ask that you not walk away from this opportunity to meet with us. We represent the thousands of members in our group who are either directly impacted or very concerned about the harmful effects of vape addiction on children in New Zealand.

We were notified yesterday that we have been granted a hearing with the Health Select Committee on our petition presented to Parliament in August last year. So on 27 March 2024, the Co-Founders of Vape Free Kids NZ will be travelling from around the country to Wellington to attend the hearing.

We are five mothers who undertake all our Vape-Free Kids NZ work on a voluntary basis. We have jobs and family responsibilities, but in spite of this, with only three weeks' notice, we are making the necessary adjustments to our schedules to be in Wellington for the hearing. We are prioritising it because the damage being done to the children and youth of New Zealand by vape addiction is a critical issue that needs addressing urgently.

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We ask that you also prioritise this issue and make room in your schedule like we have done. We have valuable insights to share with you from the parents, whānau and teachers at the coalface dealing day in day out with the damage youth vape addiction brings.

As the Minister assigned the job of addressing New Zealand’s youth vaping crisis, you have an obligation to give these families being hurt by it the time of day.

We are available any time on the 27th March outside of the Health Select Committee hearing, to meet with you in Wellington and look forward to receiving a response to our invitation. Our contact details are listed below.

Yours sincerely

Vape Free Kids NZ Co-Founders

Anna Stewart, Charlotte Christie, Charyl Robinson, Marnie Wilton and Tammy Downer

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