In a historic first for select committees, the Māori Affairs Committee and the Health Committee presented their joint report on achieving the Smokefree 2025 goal to the House on Tuesday, 11 December 2018. The report is available on Parliament’s website.
It was the first time an item of business has been jointly considered by select committees. In May 2018, the committees received a joint briefing from various submitters on achieving the Smokefree 2025 goal. Because of the size of the hearing, it was held in the Legislative Council Chamber — Parliament’s old upper House.
The committees invited and received several other written submissions on achieving the Smokefree goal.
A source document for the briefing was a 2010 select committee report on tobacco that contained 42 recommendations for the Government. In Tuesday’s report, the committees recommended that the Government re-examine and prioritise the 31 uncompleted recommendations from the 2010 report. They recommended giving the highest priority to the recommendations that will most help to reduce smoking levels.
Other recommendations of the committees were about:
- the collection of data on smoking-related deaths by ethnicity
- the regulation of vaping
- expanding subsidised nicotine replacement therapy products
- the effectiveness of stop-smoking programmes in prisons
- smoking in cars.
Rino Tirikatene MP, Chair of the Māori Affairs Committee, thanked submitters for their contributions: “We are grateful to the people who gave us their time and expertise. We hope that the Government is able to act on our recommendations in time to reach the goal of less than 5 percent of people smoking by 2025. This very important goal is crucial for improving the well-being of our people.”
Louisa Wall MP, Chair of the Health Committee, said: “The Health Committee is very pleased to present this joint report with the Māori Affairs Committee. We are concerned that current smoking rates do not show good progress towards the 2025 target. We believe our report will be helpful in guiding the Government in its work towards Smokefree 2025, and we encourage it to act on our recommendations.”
The report is on Parliament’s website. The Government’s response to the recommendations is due by 13 March 2019.