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NICF Pou Tangata condemns proposed repeal of Smokefree Environments Act

Pou Tangata of the National Iwi Chairs Forum strongly condemns the recent actions by the Government to introduce legislation in favour of repealing the Smokefree Environments Act and urges the Government to focus instead on strengthening the policies that protect iwi Māori and all New Zealanders from the harm caused by tobacco.

“This Act has been instrumental in protecting our communities, especially our rangatahi from the harmful effects of smoking. It is a critical component of our nation’s public health strategy,” says Dame Naida Glavish DNZM, Co-Chair of Pou Tangata.

“We stand firm in our commitment to a smokefree Aotearoa and the health of our future generations,” says Glavish. “Repealing this Act is not just a step backwards, it’s a direct threat to the lives and future of our whānau and tamariki.”

“We must not allow the progress we have made in reducing smoking rates and protecting our people, especially the vulnerable, to be undone” says Glavish.

Rahui Papa, Co-Chair of Pou Tangata says, “this trend of pushing critical bills through under urgency is unjust. This is the second instance in as many days where critical legislation is being fast-tracked, bypassing essential democratic rights for community voices to be heard.”

“More than 5000 voices from the community contributed to the development of the Smokefree Action Plan. Yesterday, 68 people and 1 industry which profits from the harm caused by tobacco repealed this law in less than 24 hours. “The deafening silence that should be filled with community voice, is deplorable” says Glavish.

Legislation to disestablish Te Aka Whai Ora was introduced to the house earlier this week, and passed its third reading less than one day later.

“Any legislation passed in the dark of the night and without public consultation is counterproductive to the forward progress of Aotearoa,” says Mr Papa. “Such haste in decision-making neglects the voices and concerns of the very people it affects, undermining the principles of democratic and inclusive governance.”

“It’s not about taking rights away from smokers, it’s about protecting our people, particularly our youth, from starting this harmful habit. The long-term health of our whānau and communities must be our priority” says Glavish