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Plain packaging another step closer

The Māori Party is thrilled plain tobacco packaging is another step closer to becoming law, now the Government has signalled plans to progress the Bill in Parliament.

“This is a message to international tobacco companies that New Zealand will not be intimidated by their threats of legal action,” says Māori Party Co-leader Marama Fox.

The Government has indicated that the Bill could return to the House for its second reading before the end of the year.

The Plain Packaging Bill drafted by the Māori Party went before the Health Select Committee in August 2014, just six months after it was introduced into the House by Dame Tariana Turia.

She was internationally recognised for her leadership in tobacco reforms.

Māori Party Co-leader Te Ururoa Flavell says the Bill is not about punishing smokers.

“Research tells us that plain packaging will turn people off who haven’t started smoking. It’s better to deter people from picking up the habit than having to support them to quit later on,” says Māori Party Co-leader Te Ururoa Flavell.

“It’s time to get the ball rolling again because the Māori Party will not stand by idly while 5,000 New Zealanders die each year of smoking-related illnesses,” says Mrs Fox.

Smoking has steadily declined largely as a result of Māori Party initiatives including the tax increase on cigarettes, banning shops from displaying them and securing Government funding for programmes to support people who want to quit smoking.

The Government says it remains committed to the Māori Party’s target of a Smokefree Aotearoa by 2025.

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