Iwi calls on Reti, Peters, Costello to halt Smokefree repeal

21 Dec, 2023 | Article, Media Release

Health Coalition Aotearoa (HCA) fully backs Ngātiwai Trust Board’s public appeal to Minister of Health Dr Shane Reti and the Honourable Winston Peters – members of the iwi – to halt the repeal of New Zealand’s life-saving Smokefree law.

The iwi’s public letter particularly appealed to Dr Reti as Minister of Health and a “senior member of the National Party”.

“… we know that you have influence, and we also know that you see the proposed repeal of the Smokefree Act as morally wrong, both as a doctor and as an uri of Ngātiwai.”

HCA commends the iwi for holding Dr Reti and Mr Peters to account as the Smokefree law will dramatically reduce smoking rates in Aotearoa and its repeal will cost thousands of lives.

HCA board member Grant Berghan, a Ngātiwai member and experienced public health advocate, said Reti, Peters – and associate Health Minister (tobacco regulation) Casey Costello who is also a Ngātiwai member – had brought shame and embarrassment to the iwi.

“The repeal is damaging to our whakapapa and, in accordance with te ao Māori, they will be held accountable for their actions by our people.”

Berghan said whakapapa is at the heart of the Māori world and to threaten it by putting Māori whānau at risk, was considered an extremely serious breach of iwi values.

Repealing the Smokefree Environments and Regulated Products (Smoked Tobacco) Amendment Act (SERPA), which includes measures to reduce the prevalence and addictiveness of cigarettes, and create a smokefree generation, went beyond politics, Berghan said.

“Governments come and go but your whakapapa is forever.”

Berghan called on Reti, Peters and Costello to halt the repeal or “cross the floor” and vote according to what was in line with the values of Ngātiwai and te ao Māori.

Smokefree repeal must get Parliamentary scrutiny

Today, 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 (Smoked...

Govt allies play down smoking harm, back repeal

The Government is preparing to repeal new Smokefree measures that would rapidly save thousands of lives, a move that has widely been condemned by national and international health experts. Health Coalition Aotearoa (HCA) is therefore disappointed to see the Action on...

Scrapping Te Aka Whai Ora – major threat to Māori health

The disestablishment of Te Aka Whai Ora – the Māori Health Authority - as proposed by the National, ACT and NZ First parties, poses a grave threat to the health and wellbeing of tangata whenua. Health Coalition Aotearoa (HCA) calls on all parties to retain Te Aka Whai...

Free under-30s dental care fills gap but more needed

Health Coalition Aotearoa (HCA) welcomes Labour’s proposed policy to reduce the burden of dental disease in Aotearoa - but says more preventative action is needed to address the causes of tooth decay. Provision of free dental care for the under-30s, will help correct...

Alcohol bill step in right direction to reduce harm

Health Coalition Aotearoa (HCA) commends the Government's passing of the Sale and Supply of Alcohol (Community Participation) Amendment Bill yesterday. While there is still much more to be done to reduce alcohol harm in this country, this is a step in the right...

Stronger youth vaping measures welcomed

Health Coalition Aotearoa (HCA) welcomes Labour’s stronger proposed measures to address the serious problem of vaping among our tamariki and rangatahi. Labour’s policy announced today included capping all vape stores to 600 nation-wide, a requirement for all retailers...

‘We have failed our mokopuna’

Health Coalition Aotearoa (HCA) stands in solidarity with the parents’ movement Vape-Free Kids and their petitions calling on the Government to protect children from vaping addiction. Vape-Free Kids NZ are handing over their petitions to Dr Tracey McLellan, Chair of...