Sunday, June 23, 2024

Health groups call for greater Smokefree Act scrutiny

Health Coalition Aotearoa (HCA), the Council of Medical Colleges in New Zealand (CMC), and Te Ohu Rata O Aotearoa – Māori Medical Practitioners Association are calling on the Government not to repeal the Smokefree Environments and Regulated Products Amendment Act 2022 under urgency and to send the Bill to the health select committee.

The groups have written to the Prime Minister, Minister of Health Dr Shane Reti, Minister of Māori Development Tama Potaka and chair of the Health Select Committee, National MP Sam Uffindell to formally make the request.

The repeal of the Act is among 49 actions in the Government’s 100-day plan.

“This repeal would have a significant and negative impact on the health and wellbeing of New Zealanders, both now and in the future, and will undo years of policy development including wide consultation and expert advice,” said HCA co-chair, Professor Boyd Swinburn (pictured).

“The roll-back of these measures was not National Party policy and was not subject to debate during the election campaign. Given the gravity of the potential health outcomes, it should be subject to public and expert scrutiny as part of normal Parliamentary process.”

It will also allow Māori communities to have their say on the repeal – which would have the greatest impact on iwi, hapu and whānau, he said.

“We call on Prime Minister Luxon to rule out the use of urgency on the Smokefree Amendment Act and allow the select committee to hear from impacted communities and public health experts,” said CMC Chair, Dr Samantha Murton. 

Health Coalition Aotearoa is a coalition of 45 NGO member organisations and 75 individuals supported by expert advisory panels advocating to advance health equity and reduce the harms of tobacco, vaping, alcohol and unhealthy food.

Council of Medical Colleges in New Zealand: CMC represents seventeen medical colleges who provide support to over 9,000 medical practitioners working in a range of 34 specialties in the Aotearoa New Zealand health system.

Te Ohu Rata O Aotearoa – Māori Medical Practitioners Association represents the majority of Māori medical students and doctors working as clinicians, researchers and teachers.

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