GORDON LIGHTFOOT | Politics
The National-led “coalition of chaos” has horrified journalists at home and abroad this week.
They have just announced a despicable plan to reverse a super smart smokefree law put in place by the best prime minister New Zealand’s ever had, Jacinda Ardern.
The law-reversal means that future generations will be able to legally purchase tobacco in a regulated market if they choose to.
Some thoughtless people will shrug at this development. But what many don’t understand is that this will in fact mean every single New Zealander will now instantly take up smoking as a result.
People who have never thought about smoking, and never wanted to, will now experience a sudden irresistible urge to wander to their local dairy to get themselves a pack of darts.
This is despite smoking trending downward in the population over the years without a full ban. When the law’s repealed, supermarkets will inevitably be overrun with ravenous customers wanting cigarettes.
University of Otago tobacco control expert Richard Edwards said that a “tragedy” was unfolding in the country.
“It was not something that we anticipated, we did not think a government could be so backwards,” he said.
“I was absolutely shocked and appalled. It is one of the worst days I can remember for public health. It is public health vandalism.”
Overseas media including the Guardian and Time Magazine have made the point that human beings do not have the strength or intelligence to resist tobacco, and should not be given the agency to even try it. This was particularly true for “indigenous populations”, they said totally un-racistly.
Local drug dealer Zane Blackwell was also dismayed by the law reversal for different reasons. “Bit of a shame actually, I’ve been making a lot of money selling ciggies from China to dairies around the country. I had big plans to make heaps more once they were totally illegal.”
Mother of three Lauren Green, who has never touched a cigarette, is upset about the pressure the law change will put on her household budget. “We can barely make ends meet as it is, how are we going to find the extra money for cigarettes that we won’t be able to live without?”
Prime Minister Christopher Luxon says he wants the amendments to the legislation repealed before March 2024.
More to come.
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