February 17, 2014
Public health trumps tobacco profits
Associate Health Minister Tariana Turia says trade shouldn’t be used as an excuse for allowing New Zealanders to continue to die from tobacco-related disease.
A bill to remove branding from tobacco packaging had its first reading last week, but the Government says it won’t go through all its stages until the outcome is known of legal action by tobacco companies against similar legislation overseas.
Mrs Turia says that shouldn’t matter, because New Zealand has a sovereign right to look after its own public health.
She says people’s lives are at stake.
"We should be standing very strongly on principle that whatever it is that impacts on the lives of our people, we should not be engaging in, so while I appreciate that people think that trade is the be all and end all, and that the economic opportunity is the be all and the end all of our future, so are the lives of our people," she says.
Tariana Turia says the tobacco companies paint the issue as being one of choice, but there is little choice involved for people addicted to their products.
FOR THE FULL INTERVIEW WITH TARIANA TURIA CLICK ON THE LINK
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