Hon TARIANA TURIA (Associate Minister of Health)
: I move,
That the Smoke-free Environments (Controls and Enforcement) Amendment Bill be now read a third time. This Parliament can be proud of the culture of change that we are advancing through the Smoke-free Environments (Controls and Enforcement) Amendment Bill. New Zealand has made rapid progress in reducing smoking rates, and this bill is another step in that journey.
During the course of debate on this bill we have heard mention of the brave cause champions and advocates who have led the change in tobacco control. First and foremost I pay tribute to the many groups and individuals such as Aukati Kai Paipa; Te Hotu Manawa Māori; Action on Smoking and Health—
Te Ururoa Flavell: I raise a point of order, Mr Speaker.
Mr DEPUTY SPEAKER: I know what the member is going to say. We have a Minister speaking, and it is very difficult to hear with all of the discussions going on. I ask members leaving the Chamber to do so, and to have their discussions in the lobbies.
Hon TARIANA TURIA: I pay tribute to the Smokefree Coalition, Te Ohu Auahi Kore; Smokefree Nurses Aotearoa; the Asthma and Respiratory Foundation; the Cardiac Society of Australia and New Zealand; the Quit Group; the Centre for Tobacco Control Research; Te Ohu Rata o Aotearoa, the Māori Medical Practitioners Association; the department of public health at the University of Otago; End Smoking NZ; the Public Health Association of New Zealand; the Royal New Zealand College of General Practitioners; Whakauae Research Services; and many other individuals and organisations. If I have missed anyone out by naming but a few, I apologise to you today.
But it is vitally important that today’s achievement is also recognised as a milestone that has resulted from the efforts of so many people dedicated to the cause of eliminating tobacco from Aotearoa. In this House there are also advocates and activists who have taken up the cause of tobacco reform. The gestation of the Smoke-free Environments (Controls and Enforcement) Amendment Bill has involved many key players and history makers. They include the Rt Hon Helen Clark, Tukoroirangi Morgan, Judy Keall, and Stevie Chadwick, and over this last year it has been ably assisted by the commitment of Dr Paul Hutchison as chair of the Health Committee.
The broader context of tobacco reform has, of course, received heightened awareness through the impact of the inquiry into the tobacco industry pioneered by the Māori Affairs Committee, and I record my tribute today to the leadership of Hone Harawira, Tau Henare as the chair, and, in fact, all of the members of that committee who have taken up the call to break the cycle of smoking uptake.
I sincerely appreciate the leadership of the Prime Minister and the support of the Minister of Health, Tony Ryall, in enabling this legislation to be passed during the course of this Parliament, and for being willing to step up to the challenge to ensure that future generations of New Zealand will be protected from exposure to tobacco products and will enjoy smoke-free lives.
The progress we have achieved on this Smoke-free Environments (Controls and Enforcement) Amendment Bill 2010 has been so much easier because of the support across the House. Anyone who listened during the Committee stage of the bill would have heard that the impact of the 150 submissions received by the Health Committee underscored the need to legislate to achieve the vision of a tobacco-free Aotearoa by 2025. But they would also have seen the evidence of the activists’ catchcry that the
personal is political. How could it be any different? Almost every single one of us in this Chamber knows the reality that more than one in five New Zealanders smoke tobacco regularly. Many of us know the devastating consequences of tobacco smoking as a leading cause of preventable death in New Zealand, and we know in our lived experiences that Māori and Pasifika people bear a disproportionate burden of tobacco addiction.
The Royal New Zealand College of General Practitioners outlined the impact of smoking on the quality of life through conditions such as lung cancer, heart disease, stroke, emphysema, chronic bronchitis, and cancer of the mouth, breast, bladder, throat, stomach, colon, and on and on. One of the most poignant submissions made during the course of this bill was from Student ASH—a group of medical students at the University of Auckland—and I want to quote from their submission. “Through the course of our training we see the tragic and preventable harm which smoking causes repeated over and over again in the patients we get to know. It is terrible to see patients, who are in hospital as a result of their lifelong addiction to cigarettes, leave their bed and go outside to smoke. Many patients we meet, even in the end stages of their lives, can not break the very addiction which is killing them.” So today I applaud the House for having the courage to continue to work together to address smoking harm.
I am particularly mindful of the kōrero that was shared last night by Louisa Wall, reminding us to keep the needs of our babies uppermost in placing tobacco retail displays out of sight and out of mind.
This bill is driven by the need to reduce tobacco uptake, particularly amongst young people, and to help smokers to quit. It does this by prohibiting retail displays of tobacco products, increasing controls on tobacco, and facilitating the enforcement of tobacco controls. In introducing this legislation, I was motivated by the knowledge that children and adolescents are particularly susceptible to the lure of the images adorning tobacco displays such as colouring and the graphics used on cigarette packages. In New Zealand the average age that 15 to 19-year-olds have their first cigarette is 13.3 years of age. We also know that half of the people under 18 who smoke have tried to quit and two-thirds of them regret ever starting. A Cancer Society survey that was run in 2008 revealed that 45 percent of New Zealanders answering that poll agreed that tobacco displays in retail areas made quitting harder. This legislation makes a cornerstone intervention in the cycle of see, try, and buy. The amendment bill aims to remove tobacco displays from outlets and also includes harsher penalties.
This bill will make the marketing of tobacco products a much more difficult proposition for the tobacco industry. The industry will no longer be able to display tobacco products at the local dairy or include tobacco-related words in their shop signage. These measures will also aid those trying to quit by removing some of the temptation to make impulse purchases. As a result of this legislation we will see an end to the type of covert sponsorship arrangements, such as the exclusive supply arrangements at events like outdoor music festivals. The bill has increased the penalties for selling tobacco products to children and young people—from $2,000 to $5,000 for an individual and up to $10,000 for a business. It also enables these offences to be dealt with by infringement notices rather than by costly and time-consuming prosecutions through the courts.
I believe that this legislation represents an honourable attempt by the Government to support the concerted efforts in homes and workplaces throughout our land to instil pride in ourselves in becoming tobacco-free. I make a special mention of the officials who have aided the select committee process and advised and guided me every step of the way. This legislation is also a result of their expertise, their hard work, and their professionalism. I congratulate the advisers right across the Ministry of Health, but
particularly the tobacco team, who have provided me with confidence that we are making the difference we need. Ultimately, we have adopted a position where the public health arguments for tobacco control outweigh the tobacco company interests.
Our retail display legislation will stop tobacco products and brand marketing in just about every dairy, supermarket, and petrol station in the land. Plain packaging goes with the next step, and it will put an end to the vicarious marketing of tobacco in other settings like the kitchen table in a smoker’s house. Our next step, therefore, is to introduce comprehensive plain packaging legislation to seriously regulate and control this product in a way that is commensurate with the devastating harm it continues to cause.
I take this opportunity to thank everyone who has supported this legislation for the decision they have made to create a stronger and healthier future for all New Zealanders. I commend this bill to the House.
IAIN LEES-GALLOWAY (Labour—Palmerston North)
: The Smoke-free Environments (Controls and Enforcement) Amendment Bill will today receive near total consensus support in the House. I think that amongst all the things to celebrate about this legislation, possibly one of the greatest celebrations we should note today is the way the House has come together on this legislation and how far a number of parties have come over the years from previous positions on tobacco enforcement and control measures. I congratulate the Associate Minister of Health Tariana Turia on introducing this legislation and bringing it to this final reading, to the point where we are, at the most, 2 years away now from the total eradication of those tobacco displays, and that is fantastic. Within a year we will see most of them gone, and the stragglers will be tidied up over the following year, and that is something we can all smile about. It is great news and I congratulate the Minister. I too would like to acknowledge the people who have taken leadership roles over the years. I think of people like Helen Clark, Tuku Morgan, Stevie Chadwick, and, of course, my colleagues on the Health Committee. Also, of course, I had the pleasure of being a temporary member of the Māori Affairs Committee for its inquiry, which, of course, was initiated by Hone Harawira and well chaired by Tau Henare. The Health Committee was very well chaired by Paul Hutchison. Everybody is part of this great journey.
We have spoken so much about the journey, which has been going for decades now with various pieces of legislation, but there certainly has been a journey over this term of Parliament. I do not want to dwell on it too much, but we have come a long way from the position that was held early on in this term of Parliament when it was believed by the Government that there was no evidence in favour of taking this move. The Minister, I acknowledge, used her position to move the Government away from its position in order to get this bill introduced, and that is fantastic. It is an amazing achievement for the Minister, and it is an amazing achievement for this Parliament. I hope this sets the precedent for future tobacco control legislation, that the days of the bitter arguments are behind us now, and that this consensus is what we will see whenever we seek to clamp down further on tobacco. I agree with the Minister that there is more work to be done. We have set a bold, ambitious goal of making New Zealand smoke-free by 2025, and although this bill is a component of achieving it, it is not the silver bullet by any stretch of the imagination, and there is a lot more work to do. But I take a lot of heart from the support that this legislation has received from around the House.
We all know, of course, the reasons why reducing smoking rates in New Zealand is so important. Five thousand New Zealanders die every year from smoking-related diseases. That means that just in the term of this Parliament 10,000 people have died unnecessarily because of smoking-related diseases. Unfortunately, many of our young people are still being tempted. The number is reducing but not fast enough to achieve
that goal of being smoke-free by 2025, so more needs to be done. The journey has been fantastic. We have got smoking out of workplaces. We have got smoking out of bars. Governments led by both National and Labour now have been prepared to increase excise tax, and that is an important component. We are on the journey but there is a lot more to be done.
This bill has some very important measures, and we should note them. We all know what they are but we should note what this bill actually achieves. First and foremost, of course, the bill gets rid of tobacco displays. The last bastion of tobacco advertising is gone, so now people will be free to walk into the dairy without being confronted with this appalling, addictive product. The bill also clamps down on covert sponsorship, which is one of the most surreptitious methods by which the tobacco industry tries to reach our young people. It also ensures that internet sales fall into line with what we expect within a dairy or a supermarket, and it introduces some penalties associated with breaking the new regulations. It also increases the penalties for supplying tobacco to young people. The bill also tries to tighten up the area of trade rebates and discounts, because that is another way in which the tobacco industry incentivises retailers to sell as much as they can and to have tobacco products in their dairies, supermarkets, and service stations.
Obviously, there are a number of groups, organisations, and people who have submitted, lobbied, and worked alongside members of Parliament to get this legislation through. Some people have not been acknowledged yet, and I would like to congratulate them. They are the retailers who have already taken this step. Even though this step was not legislated for, they have voluntarily taken it. I know of dairies that do not sell cigarettes any more. That might be considered a dangerous step by some retailers, but these dairy owners report no loss of sales. In fact, they are very popular within their local community. Some people go out of their way to buy their bread, milk, and newspaper from those dairies because they know the dairies have taken that step and they want to congratulate them on, and reward them for, doing it. I do not think retailers have anything to fear from this measure. First and foremost it creates a level playing field as everybody is in the same boat, so retailers certainly have nothing to fear. I do not think that retailers need to fear that people will not come in to buy their smokes or that they will be put off because tobacco is not visibly available. I think that actually they will be supported and congratulated by their communities around them.
As I have said, a lot has been made of the journey. There are some next steps we have to undertake. The Minister raised the issue of plain packaging, and I think that is something we need to move on swiftly. We need to follow the example of our Australian cousins and to be just as brave as they have been. They have been challenged by the tobacco industry with all the force of the powerful legal teams that industry has available to it—all the resources from all the money it has made over the years from the poor people who are addicted to the product it peddles. Although the tobacco industry is going to take on the Australian Government, we should not be in any way put off by those moves from the tobacco industry. We should confront it head on, we should support the Australians, and we should go down the same path and introduce plain packaging. I would have liked to see another thing included in this bill, but it was not, and when I considered proposing an amendment to include it, it was outside the scope of the bill, and that is the issue of vending machines. It might seem like a small deal—and I know you want me to stick to this bill, Mr Deputy Speaker—but that is the next area we need to consider in the next step of the journey that this bill is a very important aspect of.
In closing, I thank everybody who has supported this legislation and who has supported those MPs who have advocated for this change to occur during this term of
Parliament and before. I acknowledge everyone who has got us to this point, and I strongly encourage Parliament to take the next steps that are necessary and to stick to the goal of making New Zealand smoke-free by 2025.
Dr PAUL HUTCHISON (National—Hunua)
: It gives me great pleasure to take a call on the Smoke-free Environments (Controls and Enforcement) Amendment Bill. This is one of the great occasions, and it is marked particularly by the fact that just about everyone in Parliament supports this very, very important public health measure.
The fact that Parliament does agree on the basic facts—that something like 5,000 premature deaths are caused through smoking, and something like 500 premature deaths are caused through second-hand smoke—is particularly salutary. But there is still a long way to go. We are told that in the order of 50 percent of young Māori women still smoke. Again, I think it was Tariana Turia who told us that, overall, something like 40 percent of Māori aged between 15 and 60 years smoked, and the figure for the whole population is about 20 percent. We have a long way to go.
The bill also covers herbal products, and it must be mentioned that experts told us and confirmed that smoking herbal products carries significant health harms. Fifteen years ago one would hardly have imagined that we would be passing legislation to effectively prohibit retail displays of tobacco and herbal products, including on the internet, in duty-free stores, and during sponsored events. The legislation introduces very tough enforcement laws to back that up. Corporate offenders can be fined up to $50,000, so this indeed is pretty tough on them.
Evidence has accumulated from around the world that removing signage is effective, and last night I described the Pavlovian dog reflex. Certainly the evidence from places like Iceland and Canada has accumulated, and there is no doubt that that particular reflex has been described in medical literature for many, many years. We know that addicts will come into a store or a supermarket innocently wanting a bottle of milk and, bingo, the signs are in front of them and they cannot resist buying another packet of cigarettes. So the evidence behind this is pretty overwhelming.
The Health Committee worked extremely well together through a somewhat complex and challenging set of submissions, but we all enjoyed them. I remember Kevin Hague, in the first reading debate, saying it was intriguing to see individual retailers think of ingenious reasons why they should be exempted from this legislation. It was also fascinating to hear one extremely innovative submission that this legislation contravened the New Zealand Bill of Rights Act. As I understand libertarian philosophy, the basic premise is as much freedom as possible provided it does not harm others. There is no doubt that second-hand smoke does harm others.
Finally, I too acknowledge the many, many individuals and organisations who over a long period of time have contributed to bringing about this legislation. I particularly want to mention Dr Murray Laugesen. He has dedicated pretty well his entire professional career on this subject in New Zealand. Professor Robert Beaglehole is an international expert in this area. I also include the organisations that were mentioned by Minister Turia. Of course, people within this Parliament have contributed, and I mention Mr Ryall and Tau Henare, and, of course, Tariana Turia for becoming a legend in terms of championing this legislation. It is great to have multiparty consensus, and this certainly signals another step towards New Zealand becoming smoke-free.
GRANT ROBERTSON (Labour—Wellington Central)
: I am pleased to follow on from the chair of the Health Committee, Dr Paul Hutchison. I went on to the Health Committee part-way through its inquiry, and I could feel that the committee was determined to make progress on the Smoke-free Environments (Controls and Enforcement) Amendment Bill. There were a lot of submissions to hear, and it was important that all those voices were heard. Associate Minister of Health Tariana Turia,
in her speech today, read out the names of a large number of the organisations that have advocated for this legislation over a long period, with good evidence and research to back up their arguments. We heard from a large number of those people, and the submissions were eloquent and often quite emotional.
We also heard from the other side of the debate. As the speaker who has just resumed his seat said, inventive things were put in front of us. There were claims that all manner of economic espionage was being undertaken. There were some outrageous statements, as well, about the lack of social concern, perhaps, of some retailers.
I am very pleased to be able to speak in the third reading debate in support of this bill. This is one of those times in the House when every New Zealander who is watching or listening to this debate will understand exactly what we are trying to stop today. When we enter a corner dairy we see the wall, the wall that sits behind the person who is operating that dairy, the colourful wall, the wall designed after years and years of work by the tobacco industry. It is designed for the sole purpose of making cigarettes attractive. It is designed in part to make cigarettes attractive to younger people, who are more likely to respond. There are people sitting in offices in the United States of America, and in other parts of the world, working out how to make sure that those walls of colour behind the counters of local dairies all over New Zealand, and all over the world, are attractive to young people. But we in this House today are saying that we are not buying into that. As a country, New Zealand is standing up and saying that we are not going to let our children and future generations be manipulated by those tobacco companies. We in this House today should all be proud that we are prepared to take that stand. Sometimes in this House we debate the arcane, or things that people in the public arena may not fully understand. Today they will understand, and they will see the difference within 2 years in New Zealand retail outlets. That is a very, very good thing.
I too join in congratulating all those who have worked on this issue. It is truly a cross-party approach. Minister Turia most definitely deserves the credit for the work she has done in bringing the current Government along to this position. I also acknowledge the role of the officials, because I think they had a difficult task at times to interpret different aspects of the legislation. At the risk of naming names—which is always trouble because there are many—I mention Matthew Everett, who provided some excellent advice. I think the role of the Parliamentary Counsel Office needs to be acknowledged too. Ross Carter provided the words, and the tweaks to the words, that managed to keep the meaning we wanted whilst still allowing it to remain within the rules of this House.
At the risk of widening the breadth of the debate, I note two or three things that were raised in submissions to this bill but that are perhaps not within its direct scope. They have been mentioned before. One of those is plain packaging. Again, we can have no doubt that the reason the tobacco industry is so energised to take on the Australian Government is that the industry knows the impact of plain packaging on its sales. It knows the impact on its sales of getting rid of the wall of colour behind the counter at the dairy. That is why the industry is fighting so hard, and that is why it is so important that we go down that path, as well, and that we continue to stand up for change. I know that Minister Turia and, indeed, Minister Ryall have made comments that plain packaging is inevitable. I think we need to start making moves towards that as soon as possible, and many of the people who submitted to our committee also thought so.
The same goes for vending machines. My colleague Iain Lees-Galloway is a modest chap, and he did not mention in his own speech that he had a member’s bill to address that very thing. I think it is worth acknowledging that Iain showed leadership in bringing that before the House. We are delighted that the legislation is coming into law
as a Government bill, but I think the fact that Iain Lees-Galloway did that is worth noting.
I also think that in this legislation there is the beginning of an issue that we will have to look at further. It is the question of sales over the internet. Nowadays most New Zealanders are buying products of all types over the internet. That is the way things are going, and it will occur only more often. The internet, as we know and as we have debated at some length in this House in recent times, is an arena that is difficult to regulate. That is obviously true, so further attention will need to be given in the future to the role of the internet and the supply of tobacco into New Zealand. For instance, should we reach the laudable goal in 2025 of a smoke-free New Zealand, sadly the rest of the world will not be smoke-free by that time, I predict. So we will need to think about our relationship with other countries and, indeed, about the way in which the internet, being a global phenomenon, will facilitate tobacco being used in New Zealand. But these are challenges for another day.
I will highlight two or three other matters from the bill that I think are important for those who are realising today that we are making this small but very significant step. One is the issue of covert sponsorship, with its notion of exclusive supply rights. That was something the committee grappled with, and we decided that it was important to have it addressed. Tobacco companies cannot now sponsor major events because of earlier legislation, but they create deals about exclusive supply for events, which can have the effect of sponsorship and the effect of the promotion of tobacco. It was good to be able to have clauses within this bill, which we are passing today, that will address the issue of covert sponsorship.
The same applies to trade rebates and discounts. Again, tobacco companies build relationships with retailers that are designed to facilitate the sale of their products. Those things can amount to a promotional activity, and they need to be addressed. This bill has done that.
Without wanting to break into the spirit of consensus around the House, I say that the question of signage was one we debated. The committee discussed at some length the possibility that health warning signs can be somehow manipulated into being promotional signs. The fact that on a sign announcing restrictions on tobacco it can be possible for the picture of a packet of cigarettes to appear, with perhaps the number 18 on it, or a cross over it, was something that concerned us. Iain Lees-Galloway put up an amendment in that regard in the Committee stage of this bill, but it was not accepted on the grounds that it was unnecessary. I hope that is true. I hope it is true that we will not see the signs designed to alert people to the restrictions on the sale of tobacco being used, in effect, as signs to promote tobacco. There are examples internationally of where this has happened, and it is something we would not want to see in New Zealand. I hope that we are not back here in a year or so having to correct that, and that there is sufficient coverage in the bill in front of us.
I believe that this legislation is very good. It is a small but significant step forward in the journey to ensure that we get rid of the scourge of smoking from New Zealand, and that we take on a tobacco industry determined to knock out the small country or countries trying to address the issues the industry is promoting. This bill is very important. It will be good for the health and well-being of future generations of New Zealanders. I am proud to support it.
KEVIN HAGUE (Green)
: Tēnā koe, Mr Deputy Speaker. Ngā mihi nui ki a koe. Others in this debate have already mentioned the 5,000 deaths per year from smoking-related diseases. When we reflect on the work the Health Committee has done and on the succession of members of this House who referred to that number extensively in the Committee stage debate on the Smoke-free Environments (Controls and Enforcement)
Amendment Bill, we see that it has been the number of deaths, it has been the years of life lost, it has been the much larger number of people whose quality of life has been compromised every year, and it has also been the economic cost of that sickness and death that have formed the backdrop of the determination to take effective action.
We had an interesting discussion in the Committee stage on what the correct historical antecedents were. Paul Hutchison, the chair of the select committee, referred to a 1960 Richard Doll paper. Personally, I go to Doll and Hill in 1956 as my marker of the first study that authoritatively linked lung cancer and cigarette smoking. That is important because one of the arguments heard against legislators such as us taking action against the power of the tobacco industry, and taking action to control tobacco, is the argument of individual choice. There certainly is in health theory a strand of thinking that says that individuals make choices. I link this back to an even earlier date: 1776, Adam Smith and his
Wealth of Nations. He sets out a philosophy that says that individuals consider the benefits and costs of potential courses of action and then choose on a rational basis the one that has the best balance of benefits and costs. When we link that into evidence about disease that is non-communicable but is linked instead to a behaviour, it leads to a strand of thinking that says that individuals make rational choices about their lifestyles and therefore it is not up to legislators to step in to interfere with those.
The problem with that thinking is this: it fails to explain the pattern of health and disease we actually observe. If the pattern of cigarette smoking we see in New Zealand were explained by rational choices, then something truly extraordinary would be going on, because the rates of smoking amongst Māori, amongst Pacific Islands people, and amongst poor people are very much higher than the rates amongst those who are relatively better off in society and those who are relatively privileged in society. We could conclude only that smoking and all of the tobacco-related disease that is associated with it is effectively a disease of marginalisation. That says that a model based on the idea of individual choice fails to explain what we actually see, and that a model based on providing people with more information so that they will make better choices will also fail. That is why we have to step in. We have to step in to address the environments that surround those marginalised populations.
Coincidentally, Paul Hutchison this morning hosted a breakfast here in Parliament for Sir Michael Marmot, who was formerly the chair of the World Health Organization Commission on the Social Determinants of Health. Sir Michael gave a fascinating discourse on those environmental determinants. In passing, I thank Paul Hutchison for hosting that and the New Zealand Medical Association, which has been hosting Sir Michael’s visit. That theory of environmental determinants sets out to address the risk environments in which populations find themselves: the risk environments of racism, the risk environments of poverty, and those other social and economic inequalities in our society. Effectively, those environments, and the environments this bill seeks to address—the immediate environment of advertising both on the internet and in retail stores—create a “smoke-ogenic” environment. This bill is a substantial step forward in addressing that. Ultimately we will need to create a fair and just society in which those structural inequalities are addressed and eliminated. Ultimately we will need to do that, and we need to work towards that goal.
In the short term, I would like to celebrate the achievement of Associate Minister of Health Turia and others in bringing this bill to the House and seeing it through. I know there will be people from those various passionate community groups that Minister Turia and others have referred to who are watching this debate and listening to it, both
in the gallery and at home. I know they will feel a sense of pride and achievement in this major step forward. I thank them for their contribution. I think members will be aware that at earlier stages of the debate I pushed for this bill to go a bit further than it does. I am sorry it did not do that, but today is a day for celebrating what the bill does, because it will make a major contribution.
In closing I say, as indeed others have in this third reading debate, that this is not the end of the journey. As Paul Hutchison said, there is still a very long way for us to go. I turn once again to the findings of that landmark inquiry by the Māori Affairs Committee. Let us celebrate this achievement today, but tomorrow set ourselves up for the next step forward—the next step that will implement the rest of the recommendations of the Māori Affairs Committee. Kia ora tātou.
Hon JOHN BOSCAWEN (Leader—ACT)
: It is indeed a pleasure and a privilege to speak on the third reading of the Smoke-free Environments (Controls and Enforcement) Amendment Bill. I particularly want to take this opportunity because I see it as an opportunity to congratulate and to recognise the hard work of Tariana Turia. I pay particular credit to her and to her colleagues who have championed this legislation. The ACT Party will have a split vote on this bill, and I will address that issue very shortly, but I would like to start by saying that this particular issue has been a very personal one of mine for many years. As Tariana Turia acknowledged, the effects of tobacco smoking are devastating. She talked about smoking being the leading cause of preventable death, and, yes, it is preventable. So why do we condemn 5,000 people a year to die from the effects of smoking, when we can actually do something about it?
Tariana Turia went on to acknowledge the contributions of many organisations and many members of Parliament on this particular issue over many years. I would like to add to that list, as Grant Robertson did, Iain Lees-Galloway. Iain Lees-Galloway introduced a member’s bill. He put the issue on the table, but it was Tariana Turia who picked up that issue. I congratulate Iain Lees-Galloway, and I congratulate Tariana Turia on convincing the Government to pick up that issue and run with it. Mr Lees-Galloway referred to the fact that he was a member of the Māori Affairs Committee for its deliberations on the inquiry into tobacco. I also attended one or two of its meetings. I certainly was not a member of the committee, and I certainly did not put the time into it that Iain Lees-Galloway and the other members of the committee did. On the two occasions I did attend, I was very impressed with the dedication and the commitment with which the members of that committee went about their job.
The very first person Tariana Turia acknowledged was the Rt Hon Helen Clark. I will also pay a tribute to her today. Even though we have political differences in many areas—
Hon Trevor Mallard: No!
Hon JOHN BOSCAWEN: That is right, I say to Mr Mallard. We do have differences in many areas, but I will never forget the first occasion when I met Helen Clark, when she was the Minister of Health. She was attending a small, private cocktail party in 1989. She had just announced measures, or in fact may well have just passed legislation, to ban tobacco company sponsorship of sporting events. If members think back 20 years, they may recall the Benson and Hedges Open tennis tournament in Auckland. The legislation that Helen Clark passed as Minister of Health in that Labour Government outlawed tobacco company sponsorship of sporting events, an activity that legitimised, if you like, the regular use of tobacco.
I will never forget a question that was put to Helen Clark. She was asked to justify how she could ban tobacco companies from sponsoring sporting events, but would not ban liquor companies from sponsoring an event. The answer she gave on that day still sticks with me 22 years later. Some people today would dispute her answer. Straight as
a flash, she looked at the questioner and said: “Tobacco kills people.” Tobacco kills people. Yes, people die from alcohol-related causes. They do die from the effects of car accidents. But people can drink alcohol in moderation, and they can have a glass of wine each day without it doing permanent damage to their health. The tragedy is that no one can actually smoke safely. People cannot smoke one cigarette a day, 10 cigarettes a day, or a packet a day, without the risk that it could damage their health and eventually kill them. I do not doubt that there are people who smoke for their entire life. I will never forget my late grandmother, Sydney Boscawen. She gave up smoking in her early 80s, she gave up drinking whisky in her mid-80s, and she lived a very long life. My grandmother played the odds and she was successful, but, tragically, so many are not.
Reference has been made to the fact that although the average incidence of smoking is one in five, amongst young Māori women it is one in two. That is 50 percent. Because my interest in this issue goes back many years, I will never forget a documentary I saw on Television New Zealand one Sunday night. It would have been probably 20 years ago. It followed the last 18 months in the life of a young Māori mother from the East Cape. Looking at the nods, I see there may be people in this Chamber who recall that documentary. I do not know the family and I cannot recall the name, but the tragedy of that documentary was that it followed how that lady was diagnosed, the initial feelings of optimism—“We can beat this cancer; we’re going to survive.”—the slow realisation that the treatment was not working, and the general acceptance that the lady was going to die, with her young children around her realising that their mother was going to die. Tragically, the documentary concluded with her tangi—her funeral—on a marae on the East Cape of the North Island. That sort of death is preventable, and I congratulate the people who have supported this bill.
I want to focus particularly on young people, because we know that tobacco is very, very addictive. People get addicted at a very young age. We heard this afternoon that of the people between the ages of 15 to 19 who smoke, the average age they had their first cigarette was 13½ years. We heard that of the people who smoke between the ages of 15 and 19, two-thirds of them wish they had never smoked or never had their first cigarette. A young child—because that is what 12, 13, 14, 15, and 16-year-olds are—with a young brain gets addicted before his or her brain is properly formed. Once those young people realise that they have become addicted, and realise the consequences for their health, so many of them cannot give up.
I referred to the fact that the ACT Party will be having a split vote on this issue, and I am very lucky, in a caucus of five, that our caucus rules allow us to split our votes. We do not do it often, but, certainly, on issues of principle we do. On this occasion, the ACT Party will be voting two votes in favour and three votes against. I would like to take the opportunity to explain a little about the reasons why my three colleagues are voting against it. The concern of Heather Roy, Sir Roger Douglas, and Hilary Calvert—Hilary has joined me in the Chamber this afternoon—is, I guess, the issue of freedom: if one is informed of the issues and if one is aware that smoking is addictive, one should be free to take it up and we should not place that restriction on people.
I have no doubt that my three colleagues are every bit as concerned about young people—both Pacific and Māori, and people of other races—in this country as we are. I have no doubts about their concerns. But, interestingly, Kevin Hague said that the model that was based on providing more information and giving choices was a flawed model, and it was flawed because young people become addicted at a very young age. That is a very fair argument, and I have to say I support Mr Hague’s argument, but I acknowledge that the views of my three colleagues who are voting against this bill are very strongly held. I totally support and understand that. I would also like to take this opportunity to acknowledge that in the second reading of this bill the ACT vote was
recorded as being one vote for, and four votes against. The vote of Rodney Hide was recorded as a vote against, but that was a misunderstanding. Rodney Hide voted for the first reading of this bill, and he voted in favour of it during the Committee stage, and his vote was incorrectly recorded as a vote against the bill in the second reading, when in actual fact it was a vote for it.
I am very conscious of the narrowness of this debate, but I would like to issue, I guess, a challenge to the Māori Party, because we are concerned about this issue. There are other issues where we can do things to address major differences—the deprivation, if you like—between Māori, Pacific, and non-Māori.
RAHUI KATENE (Māori Party—Te Tai Tonga)
: In one of the submissions presented to the Health Committee, there was a statement attributed to Moana Jackson that had come from the
National Māori Tobacco Control Strategy: 2003-2007. That statement reads: “No greater taonga than the wellness of the people of the land and those expected to care for them had no greater obligation than to ensure its maintenance.” Directly above this statement were pictures of 10 of our tūpuna—their beautiful, strong faces adorning cards to be used in the sale of tobacco. There is no greater taonga than the wellness of the people, yet over the centuries their health and life cycle have been placed at such risk through normalising the practice of tobacco use and addiction.
Those tobacco cards of tūpuna dated back over 90 years, to the 1920s and 1930s. Today’s modern-day tobacco displays simply perpetuate the proliferation of paraphernalia used to peddle tobacco products. The Māori Party has raised our concerns about tobacco use, as a key party policy since the earliest days of our establishment in 2004. One of our key policy planks in our manifesto,
He Aha Te Mea Nui? He Tangata, He Tangata, He Tangata, was to introduce measures to take tobacco out of Aotearoa. The rationale was sound.
Despite the legislative and regulatory environment, the number of cigarettes and the volume of tobacco available for consumption are increasing. So in our Māori Party policy document we resolved that the health of the nation must come before the profits of the tobacco giants. Our campaign rested on many fronts. We were to draft legislation to bring about tobacco excise increases. We were to call for an inquiry into the tobacco industry in Aotearoa and the consequences of tobacco use upon Māori. We were to remove tobacco displays from public view. So it is an amazing feeling today to reflect on the successes we have had in every aspect of the campaign for tobacco control.
If there was ever a day to question the value of a coalition agreement with the Government, this would be that day. This Government has ventured far beyond what one might have even thought possible in this term of Government, in response to the advocacy, the expertise, and the leadership of our co-leader Tariana Turia.
Last April the Government enacted legislation to increase the tax on all tobacco products by 10 percent, and to equalise the duties on manufactured and roll-your-own cigarettes. Earlier this year it responded with a comprehensive and forward-looking response to the Māori Affairs Committee inquiry into the tobacco industry. This bill today introduces a prohibition on retail displays of tobacco products, as another key measure to reduce the prevalence of smoking in Aotearoa. From a “watch this space” preview in Minister Turia’s speech, we know that action will soon be taken to introduce plain packaging of tobacco products, in line with Australia’s policy.
On the same day we are making tobacco history with this bill, my colleague Pita Sharples was presiding at the opening of the Whare Ōranga Ake, another major achievement for the Māori Party. The idea is that when the time comes for prisoners to return to their families, marae, and communities, their whakapapa links and family bonds need to be carefully restored. If we just throw prisoners out of jail, many of them get into trouble again and go back to prison, which is a waste of people. But with Whare
Ōranga Ake there is a different wairua and tikanga, which we believe is possible only as a result of the difference achieved by the Māori Party working in a relationship with the Government.
I cannot emphasise enough how important these gains are. The legislative moves relating to smoking in Aotearoa are being watched. I go back to Moana Jackson’s words; we are talking about “No greater taonga than the wellness of the people of the land”.
Of course, it is not all roses, and I was disappointed that National was unable to appreciate the value of the amendments I sought, which were to enable a register to be established, and for registration to be mandatory and a condition of selling tobacco. This was a simple, pragmatic response to the issue that there is currently not a central list of tobacco retailers—and I appreciate the support of Labour, the Greens, and Progressive in this regard. Such a register would have been an effective way of keeping track of the growing pressure placed on the public by cunning tobacco companies seeking to market tobacco products through any means. But putting aside the matter of register, I can only note just how important this bill is in making progress towards a greater vision of ensuring that Aotearoa is smoke-free by 2025.
One of the important pieces of information that has enabled this legislation to proceed so smoothly is the research from the Cancer Society of New Zealand, which revealed that a large majority of New Zealanders consistently back the removal of tobacco retail displays. But to my mind, when I read the submission from Te Oho Ratu o Aotearoa, the Māori Medical Practitioners Association, there is absolutely no room for doubt. This is what its members said: “Future generations of New Zealand, our tamariki and our mokopuna, should be free from exposure to tobacco products. … As doctors we deal every day with the tragic human consequences of smoking-related illness. We target our strongest objection, opposition, and opprobrium at those who profit from the production, supply, and sale of this addictive poison tobacco.”
This is a very big move. Today this House will pass into law a bill that will remove tobacco retail displays, restrict tobacco trading names, and introduce tighter controls on sales to minors. We know that relapse into smoking is influenced by the retail displays of tobacco products. The mere sight of tobacco on display becomes a temptation for smokers trying to quit. During the select committee hearings we were also told by the Centre for Tobacco Control Research that experimental smoking among youth is influenced by the retail display of tobacco products. Basically, the availability of tobacco and the easy access to it encourages the initiation and the maintenance of smoking.
It can be so simple: we have to denormalise smoking. We have to instil pride in ourselves that we can be smoke-free, because we know, we experience, and we grieve the reality that smoking kills. To bring us back to the fundamental reason for tobacco reform, we need only to return to our urupā and our cemeteries and remember those loved ones who have been taken from us too soon. Smoking is the most significant cause of premature and preventable deaths in New Zealand. As Professor Tony Blakely has said so clearly: “eradicating smoking is the single most important and attainable policy action to reduce inequalities in mortality for Maori and Pacific peoples.”
The Māori Party is proud today of our champion Tariana Turia, and of all the smoke-free advocates—too many to name—who have taken up this cause so valiantly on behalf of whānau. We are delighted to support the third reading of the Smoke-free Environments (Controls and Enforcement) Amendment Bill.
Dr JACKIE BLUE (National)
: I am pleased to rise in the third reading of the Smoke-free Environments (Controls and Enforcement) Amendment Bill. This bill prohibits displays of tobacco products, and will tighten up tobacco controls and
enforcement. I congratulate Minister Tariana Turia, the Māori Affairs Committee, and also the Health Committee on their work on this legislation, which complements other measures already undertaken by the Government to date to address the harm from cigarette and tobacco smoking.
One of the initiatives undertaken by the Government was an unprecedented increase in the excise duty on tobacco products by 30 percent over time, which has been proven to be the most effective way of preventing people from smoking and of stopping smoking. Of note is the fact that Quitline calls have increased dramatically, and attempts to quit are up by over 50 percent. This has been backed up by massively improved access to smoking cessation treatments, which is up by 82 percent in the last 18 months. I think that smokers need to realise that smoking is an addiction; they should not be tough on themselves. They need to have nicotine replacement products to help to stop the effects of this addictive product. Another initiative undertaken by the Government is smoking cessation advice to hospitalised in-patients, which is one of our six national health targets. We are making good progress on that front, with more and more in-patients being advised about ways to stop smoking. It is all about those trigger points: getting people to think about what they are doing and about their smoking, and asking whether it is about time they stopped smoking for the sake of their health.
Who would have thought, even 5 or 10 years ago, that our prisons would ever be smoke-free. They have been smoke-free since 1 July. The transition phase has gone well, with almost 6,000 prisoners currently on nicotine replacement products. Of course, the ban includes staff; they are not allowed to smoke at work. This whole venture has been planned for over a year. In the planning there has obviously been education, and prisoners have been on nicotine replacement for some time leading up to 1 July. The venture has gone smoothly, and I congratulate the Minister of Corrections, the Hon Judith Collins.
This bill has virtually the universal support of the House, and that is commendable. It allows for a transition phase for retailers, and it is important to note that the provisions extend to internet sales of tobacco and herbal smoking products. Of course, sponsorship activities by manufacturers, importers, and retailers of tobacco products are prohibited. The penalties for selling to minors have been toughened up and increased. The penalties are $5,000 for an employee and $10,000 for a body corporate. The penalties are certainly up quite a lot from the current ones. I think the tougher penalties send the very strong message that if retailers sell to minors, it will cost them dearly in the pocket. Those doing that will pay a high price. This Government is serious about reducing harm, and this bill goes one more step along the way to achieving that. Thank you.
KRIS FAAFOI (Labour—Mana)
: Taloha ni, Mr Assistant Speaker Robertson, and thank you, very much, for the opportunity to speak to the third reading of the Smoke-free Environments (Controls and Enforcement) Amendment Bill. No doubt, with the great interest that the tobacco industry has taken in this bill, some of the executives here in New Zealand will be watching. It is with great pleasure that I can say that we have set a deadline on banning tobacco displays in New Zealand. The clock is ticking, and another step has been taken against the harm that tobacco has caused in New Zealand.
It is an honour to be given the opportunity to speak in the final debate on this bill in the House. This is the next chapter in a significant culture change in public health in New Zealand, because we are moving away from smoking tobacco being the norm. There is relatively wide consensus around this House that by 2025 smoking will be considered unacceptable, and that New Zealand will be smoke-free.
Both my parents smoked when I was quite a young age. I am quite happy to say that at that young age we had the foresight to throw our parents’ cigarettes in the rubbish. I am glad to say that, even though they disciplined us at the time. I am glad to say that we
did that, because of the huge hurt and pain that is caused in so many families in New Zealand by the harmful effects of tobacco. Every year 5,000 families pay the ultimate price because some of their family members decided to light up. At the moment 700,000 New Zealanders smoke. We think of every one of those 5,000 families whose family member dies. We heard a very touching story in the House last night from one of my colleagues, Louisa Wall, about how her father passed away prematurely because he smoked two packets of cigarettes a day.
The hurt and pain caused by tobacco makes me very proud that I have the opportunity to talk to this bill today. This is another step, as I said, on the journey. We have also banned smoking in workplaces and bars, and, as mentioned earlier, tobacco sponsorship was banned a couple of decades ago. Today we are banning the display of tobacco products in our shops and service stations. We are looking towards that goal, that culture change, of having a smoke-free New Zealand by 2025.
There is obviously some significant work still to do, but today is a big step. Banning tobacco displays takes away one of the major weapons that the tobacco industry uses to target our young New Zealanders. It knows that, and that is why it fought so hard and pushed so hard against the changes that we are bringing in with this bill.
On this key issue, I am glad to say that, with almost the complete support of the House, the industry has lost. This House, and the members who are supporting these measures, make no apologies about that, because every day, as those 700,000 Kiwis light up, and every year as those 5,000 Kiwi families lose their loved ones, the tobacco companies have continued to make huge profits. They have used those profits to target our youngsters to make sure that the industry still has a significant and continuing market for its products, although they cause huge and significant harm to New Zealanders. Yes, tobacco is a legal product and they use that line quite a lot in all of the correspondence that they send to members of Parliament. As I said, today is a big step but we should not shirk our responsibility to make sure that the intentions of this Parliament to ensure that New Zealand is smoke-free continue.
Can I now look at the area of Pasifika smoking. Tobacco has a disproportionate effect or impact on the Pasifika community, and that cannot be understated. Thirty-five percent of Pasifika men smoke and 28 percent of Pasifika women smoke, which is well above the national average. Unfortunately for my own Tokelauan culture 42 percent of Tokelauans have registered that they are smokers. Can I first of all congratulate a lot of the Pasifika health watchdogs that have made a significant contribution to the submissions on this bill. I make particular reference to one organisation, Tala Pasifika, and I have referred to it in earlier contributions on this bill, and to the submission made by the programme manager, Stephanie Erick. In its submission Tala Pasifika points out some of the concerns around the disproportionate effect of cigarette smoking on Pasifika people, which causes premature death, disease, and illnesses. Around a third of Pasifika people in New Zealand smoke. It went on to say that addressing the issues of tobacco accessibility to youth at-risk populations in New Zealand is a major step towards protecting current and future generations who would otherwise have been vulnerable to the deadly and addictive tobacco products that currently enjoy prominent promotion in retail settings across the country.
Just to finish on its submission: “To protect our Pacific children and the wider community from being initiated into smoking, the removal of tobacco retail displays from sight is an essential and urgent requirement for New Zealand.” I think it will be very happy with the move that this House is making today. I congratulate those Pacific health groups who work hard, day in, day out, to encourage Pasifika people to quit smoking, and also not to begin smoking. I also take this opportunity to acknowledge the leadership of the Minister in charge of this bill, the Hon Tariana Turia. This is a
significant step for a New Zealand Minister, so I thank her for making sure that this has become a priority on behalf of Pacific people.
As I mentioned earlier, we have, first of all, banned tobacco sponsorship; not so long ago we banned smoking in bars and workplaces; and soon we will have a complete ban on tobacco displays in our shops. As a number of members on this side of the House have mentioned, we want to know where we are going and what the next steps are. We have also alluded to what we think those steps are. We think there will be relatively widespread support for having plain packaging. We know that across the Ditch that jurisdiction has moved towards plain packaging. I for one completely and utterly support that. Also, there are changes in relation to the use of vending machines, which we believe are used in a way that targets casual smokers.
I also take this opportunity to thank those many people who submitted, both for and against, on this bill. I found some of the stories to be inspirational. There were a number of personal stories from submitters to the Health Committee about their support for this bill, such as from people who have lost loved ones. I also found some submissions—not surprisingly—from retailers and the tobacco industry, and from those bodies aligned to the tobacco industry, to be infuriating. There was one particular submitter who was a retailer, I think from Dunedin. I think Kevin Hague has already mentioned him. He thought he sold about $150,000 worth of tobacco each week, which is a significant amount. I am not sure about the accuracy of that claim. This man had been in his community for some time as a tobacconist, and claimed that he came to know some of his customers very well; they became close friends. Upon questioning whether he knew his customers well enough to know whether they wanted to quit, he told us he knew that about 70 percent of them definitely did. Despite him knowing that, he continued to sell tobacco to them for years. I think in that respect that retailer needs to take a little bit more responsibility for how he targets his customers.
We are in a political setting; this is an election year, so we all know the power of marketing. The tobacco companies know that, and that is why they have pumped in a significant amount of money to try to make sure that this bill did not happen, especially because they know that they can use those marketing ploys to ensure that they continue to have a significant market into the future. It has been amazing, as I am a non-smoker, to see and to listen to some of the loopholes that the tobacco companies will try to get through. They use any sliver of light they can find to make sure that they can continue to market their products to young New Zealanders.
I will take this opportunity—because I know I am running short of time—to thank the officials, some of whom are in the public gallery today, for the significant amount of assistance they gave the Health Committee. I came into the Health Committee part-way through the process, and getting my head around some of the issues in this bill was certainly helped by some of the officials who helped us out during our consideration of the bill.
I will finish with the words from one submitter, Boyd Broughton, who said: “The current legislation, laws and restrictions governing tobacco retail displays are like the efforts of the Moa to hide from hunters in days when Moa were plentiful. Due to their size, elaborate colouring and sheer numbers, they are easily seen. Let us hope tobacco retail displays future mirrors not only their ability to be seen, but also their fate.” It is an absolute pleasure to support this bill.
NICKY WAGNER (National)
: I, too, am very pleased to support the final passing of the Smoke-free Environments (Controls and Enforcement) Amendment Bill. I thank everybody who has worked on this bill: the people in the communities, people in Parliament, the honourable Minister Tariana Turia, the Māori Affairs Committee, and
the Health Committee. I think we are passing this bill today because so many people in this House are absolutely committed to reducing the harm caused by smoking.
Since 2008 the National Government has been very active in this area. We have made helping smokers to quit one of the six health targets for all district health boards across the country. We have supported those targets with $50 million a year for tobacco control and smoking cessation. We have greatly increased the tax on tobacco, and that has proved to be the most effective way to prevent and deter smoking. We have increased that tax by 30 percent over about 2 years, and that is the biggest jump ever. Interestingly enough, it has had great results. Since the tobacco tax increase, there has been a 50 percent increase in the number of people approaching Quitline, and about an 82 percent increase in the numbers of people who have committed to smoking cessation treatments. We have banned smoking in prisons, which shows that we are prepared to tackle this problem on many fronts.
It is all part of the Government’s two-pronged strategy to reduce smoking. The first prong is to try to prevent people taking up smoking. It has been interesting to listen to the discussion today and to think about the ages of people when they tend to take up smoking. It is young people between 13 and 16 or 17—that sort of age—who have not really thought through the process of what happens when they smoke tobacco, and they end up being addicted before they know what has actually happened. It is interesting to see that very few people take up smoking after the age of 25. The second prong of our strategy is to help existing smokers to quit.
The purpose of this bill is to prohibit retail displays of tobacco products. It increases the controls on tobacco, and facilitates the enforcement of those tobacco controls. It is an important new push towards the Government’s stated goal of halving tobacco consumption by 2015 and being smoke-free by 2025. That will be a tough call, but it is a worthy goal and this bill will help. I commend the bill to the House.
Hon STEVE CHADWICK (Labour)
: I will join the chorus today that the Smoke-free Environments (Controls and Enforcement) Amendment Bill, which prohibits the display of tobacco products in 2 years’ time, is a great achievement. It is the next step in a long journey, and lots of people have mentioned that journey.
Labour certainly supports the aspirational goal of New Zealand being smoke-free by 2025, and a lot of people have talked about the leadership that is needed to do that. I acknowledge Tariana Turia and congratulate her on actually taking on Minister Ryall and saying that this issue was important to all New Zealanders. I thank her for that, and for convincing the Minister of Health that excise alone would not make the difference in smoking cessation; we needed a package, and a comprehensive package, to make a difference to the health of all New Zealanders. We have talked about Tukoroirangi Morgan; he handed the mantle on. And I enjoyed working under the leadership of Helen Clark, who was determined that the original smoke-free environments bill would go through. Minister Turia was in our team at that time, and she supported that take way back then. She knew the debates and she knew the challenges we faced with that next incremental step.
I want to record how times have changed. I got handed the mantle, but there was an element of poison about any public health reform to do with smoking cessation—and my bill was just about second-hand smoke. I had death threats. White powder was delivered to my office, so security staff ring-fenced it. I had to be escorted back to my home at night after Parliament. The environment in the House was as toxic as tobacco! How it has changed. I hope that at the end of today Minister Turia will get a bouquet of flowers. She gets a bouquet from us in Labour for her leadership. I am sure that, intergenerationally, this issue will be back before the House.
I do not usually bring family into debates, but one night when I was caught in that toxic environment, after sitting in the chair in the House for 5 hours sponsoring the bill, I went back to my office and thought the journey was simply too hard. Even with the support of all of the non-governmental organisations that did awhi us through that process then, I thought it was just too hard and I felt like walking and pulling the plug. I went home that night and my youngest son said to me: “Mum, you look dreadful.” I said: “I feel awful. I’m not sure about this.” He asked: “What is it?”. I told him it was the Smoke-free Environments Amendment Bill, and he said: “Mum, keep going. We’re really proud of you, because you’re doing the right thing.” That was from my young kids, who at that time were about 23 or 24. They knew it was wrong; they went into pubs and bars, and they knew that they were inhaling air in an environment that was not good for their health, not good for the cleaners, and not good for those who choose to live their lives in a clean environment.
The environment has changed, but it has changed because of advocacy, and I want to acknowledge all of those advocacy groups, including Te Papa Tākaro o Te Arawa, Action on Smoking and Health (ASH), and the Heart Foundation. Without them I do not think we could have got there, actually. They gave us the information, they gave us the research, and they gave us the evidence, and that is what we need as legislators to feel brave about doing the right thing. So I acknowledge them. I heard specific mention of Dr Murray Laugesen, and I think he has been amazing, along with the evidence from Professor Beaglehole. We could not go wrong, actually, when we had the evidence—it was so compelling. At that time 380 New Zealanders died every year just from the effects of passive smoke. Now, with this legislation, 5,000 smoking-related deaths will be prevented in this country, and that is absolutely fantastic.
In terms of public health, I have been interested to hear Government members talk about the great contribution of an increase in excise tax. That is nothing; it is one leg of the stool in good public health legislation, and I wonder when the Government will really understand that it is about leadership, it is about advocacy—actually accepting advocacy and lobbying. The environment for lobbyists and advocates in this country was changed dramatically in 2004 when Rodney Hide said it was no longer the place for groups that advocate to get funding from the Government. That was a very, very sad day, because where else do we get our evidence? That is advocacy in my book.
It is also about education and information for the public, so that they can make choices but also so that we can socialise change. I thank the media that ran the stories. They ran the good, the bad, and the ugly stories, but still they ran the stories that informed the public at that time, and I think that is important.
But, above all, the slow-burn approach to public health legislation for smoking cessation must be backed by legislation. It is not just excise tax; it is legislation, and legislation with teeth. I think that is what we are seeing here today.
I will talk about incremental change in public health legislation, approaches, and policy. In 2004 that previous bill was passed. Then there was a petition in 2008 that gave us a very clear steer on where society—the community—wanted to go next with smoking cessation. I recall Tony Ryall, the Minister, arguing that there was absolutely no international evidence that banning cigarette displays had resulted in a reduction of smoking rates. How wrong he was! But something must have gone on, quite magically. I know how persuasive Minister Turia is when she has a bee in her bonnet, and she has got Minister Ryall onside, and I say well done to her. That is why we are here today; without it, you would not have had the backing and we would not have had the backing.
The ASSISTANT SPEAKER (H V Ross Robertson): Order!
Hon STEVE CHADWICK: Well, not you, Mr Assistant Speaker. You always have our backing.
I also acknowledge Iain Lees-Galloway. After that public petition he picked up all the recommendations in the petition and put them into his own member’s bill, because he knew where we needed to go as a country to reduce the rate of smoking uptake and the effects of tobacco smoke.
But a gap in the public health approach of 8 years—from the previous legislation to now—is far too long. I put a ring round this matter being back in the House in 5 years. We will be back here with the next legislative shift to keep the foot on the pedal of this slow burner.
Also, we cannot say we are doing enough about smoking cessation when the Government cut public health funding in last year’s Budget. I think it is appalling that people who had made a window-of-opportunity decision to stop smoking found that a lot of the access to the services they needed to stop their habit had been cut. They had made the choice, and good on them. We have to catch that golden window, but the Government cut smoking cessation programmes. That is sad, and it is not a comprehensive response from a Government that really believes in making a difference.
I have talked about the organisations involved, but one other plaudit is for those in the Ministry of Health. I am so relieved to know that there is a small directorate—and I am sure it is not called the tobacco directorate—in the Ministry of Health still, advising on public health issues. It will probably move now to alcohol and the effects of alcohol, and the effects of obesity, but thank goodness those officials are still there to advise the Health Committee.
I say well done to the select committee. There was a great response to the bill, and the committee made good amendments. I am delighted to support this next stage of the bill in the House today.
CHRIS AUCHINVOLE (National—West Coast - Tasman)
: We will remove retail displays, ban retailers from using tobacco trading names to advertise tobacco, and have stricter restrictions on selling tobacco to young people, particularly to minors. I offer congratulations to the Minister the Hon Tariana Turia on her compassionate, persistent, striving effort to bring this bill to fruition. I offer congratulations to the Māori Affairs Committee and all others who have worked so assiduously on this issue.
A lot of people have said how good, timely, and really there the Smoke-free Environments (Controls and Enforcement) Amendment Bill is. As someone who started smoking when I was 11 and did not stop until about 15 years ago, I would like, although I strongly support this bill, to spare a thought for the dedicated, die-hard—and I mean that phrase quite literally—smokers. I am talking about the guys who have smoked pretty much all their lives and feel that they cannot stop. They are still out there—in ever-decreasing numbers, dying faster than the rest of us, but they are still there. I have a message for them: “You can give up—oh, yes you can.” The best way to quit that I ever found—the only way I ever found—was to simply get someone to ask one to. So, if a person knows another who smokes—and this is a bit like the alcoholic who drinks—they should face them with it and ask them not to. If it is someone they respect and love, all the better. It does work.
The curtain is coming down on smoking, which was a phenomenon of my generation. We have seen the birth of wholesale smoking and the cessation of it. All the films we used to watch when people like Shane Jones and I were quite young would show everybody smoking. It was a forced illustration of how to be cool and manly—and womanly, too; they had ladies’ cigarettes. It was a solid advertising wall, and the curtain is now coming down on it.
As one totally committed smoker, I thoroughly enjoyed cross-examining the representatives of the tobacco industry at the select committee meeting I attended. One could say only that we stitched them up—we really did stitch ’em up. We knew rather
more about their industry than they did. There can be no pretence about the effect of smoking.
I still feel for those smokers we meet who suffer from the effects of emphysema after a lifetime of smoking. What a tragic way to end an otherwise active life! I still feel for the guys I worked with in forestry who would start each day with a 5 minute - long cough and a lot of throat clearing and would then light up a gasper because it was their “only pleasure”. It is sad.
Have we got there yet? I would suggest that we have not—not yet. I still have sympathy for those who gather outside pubs for a puff in the evenings, but, again, my message to them is: “Hey, fellas, you can give up. You really can.”
The ASSISTANT SPEAKER (H V Ross Robertson): Order!
CHRIS AUCHINVOLE: Well, the Assistant Speaker may have already done so. My message to those people is that they can give up, they really can, and they will be loved for longer if they do.
A party vote was called for on the question,
That the Smoke-free Environments (Controls and Enforcement) Amendment Bill be now read a third time.
||New Zealand National 57; New Zealand Labour 42; Green Party 9; ACT New Zealand 2 (Boscawen, Hide); Māori Party 4; Progressive 1; United Future 1; Independent: Carter C.
||ACT New Zealand 3 (Calvert, Douglas, Roy H).
|Bill read a third time.