Government Response To Tobacco Enquiry Tabled

The government’s full response to the recommendations of the Maori Affairs Committee Report, following an inquiry into the tobacco industry and the effects of tobacco use among Maori, was tabled in parliament today.

“This is a landmark moment in the history of New Zealand,” says Associate Health Minister Tariana Turia.

“It is about us asserting our own identity as a nation and defining for ourselves the role tobacco is allowed to play in the life of this country – this is not something we are just going to leave in the hands of the tobacco industry.”

Tariana Turia

Tariana Turia

The inquiry ran throughout 2010 with the Maori Affairs Select Committee receiving 260 submissions, 96 oral submissions and over 1700 letters throughout the process. This led to forty-two recommendations from the committee, which the government has responded to in full today.

“I congratulate the Maori Affairs Select Committee for the work it has done.

Today’s response signals a bold step forward as the government continues to accord priority to tobacco reduction and commits to the challenging goal of seeing Aotearoa become a nation that is essentially smokefree by 2025,” says Mrs Turia.

In its response the government has agreed to:

  • The goal of supporting New Zealand to become a smoke-free nation by 2025
  • Develop appropriate mid-term targets for reducing tobacco consumption and smoking rates towards achieving this goal.
  • Consider legislative amendments concerning the promotion, packaging, and display of tobacco products through the Smoke-free Environments (Controls and Enforcement) Bill which is currently before the House.
  • Review information disclosure regulations for tobacco products and consider implementing a more stringent regime regarding information about the additives in tobacco products.
  • Investigate using existing regulatory powers to reduce the use of additives and nicotine levels, as a possible next step following the work on information disclosure.
  • Investigate measures relating to the supply and availability of tobacco, once New Zealand has made more progress to reduce smoking rates.

“The government’s response looks to build on the existing programme of tobacco control initiatives already underway and the success that has been achieved.

“It’s about challenging ourselves to take the next step without losing the momentum that we’ve already created,” says Mrs Turia.

“I am absolutely committed to reducing tobacco related harms and the massive health inequalities that smoking brings,” says Mrs Turia.

“There is still so much to be done, but I’m more confident than ever that we can reach the goal of New Zealand being a nation free of tobacco.”

source: www.voxy.co.nz

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