14 Jan 2016

Maori MP disappointed at Maori smoking rates

8:33 pm on 14 January 2016

New Zealand First MP Pita Paraone believes a 2025 Smokefree New Zealand is unrealistic, unless recommendations by the Māori Affairs Select Committee targeting Māori smokers are implemented.

The councils say signs would aim at encouraging smokers to "enjoy the fresh air and refrain from smoking".

Photo: 123RF

A report on progress on the recommendations, made in 2010, found only 8 out of 42 have been fully implemented.

Pita Paraone, a member of the select committee, said the latest Māori smoking rates were disappointing, considering the length of time and effort that had been made to try to reduce the level of smoking amongst Māori.

In 2011 the percentage of Māori smoking daily was 37.7 percent and in 2015 it was 35.5 percent, a decline of only 2.2 percent and nearly three times that of non-Māori.

Mr Paraone said the Government and the Ministry of Health needed to increase their contractual arrangements with more Māori health providers.

"Much gains have been made because the services have been delivered by Māori," he said.

Mr Paraone said a comprehensive package of the Committee's recommendations needed to be delivered by the government with an emphasis on Māori-focussed outcomes.

He said that included reversing the government's decision to cut funding to smokefree advertising campaigns.

"Without the implementation of all the Committee's recommendations New Zealand will continue to struggle with its tobacco consumption and a smokefree New Zealand will remain decades away."

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