Being smokefree by 2025 a 'farcical goal' - Duncan Garner

Opinion 11/02/2019

By Duncan Garner, The AM Show host

OPINION: The AM Show got a huge reaction to our campaign launched in 2018 calling for a ban on smoking in cars with children, and it's good to stand for something.

It's a shame this Parliament took so long to do the right thing. In 2016 the Health Select Committee made it clear - let's do this - but the last Government was so damn scared of being accused of nanny state it continued to look the other way, hoping no one noticed.

But, we did. However, for a Parliament that signed up for this now farcical goal of being smokefree by 2025 - why on earth would you allow smoking in cars with kids?

The current path to being smokefree by 2025 is a joke and we will never get there.

I can't take my own beer into Eden Park, or talk on my phone in the car, or ride my bike without a helmet but I can sit in the car and blow smoke into the face of a newborn baby without consequence.

Why do I call it a farcical goal? Because no one is now sponsoring it.

Tariana Turia and Hone Harawira were authentic. It was their thing - they were passionate and wanted young rangatahi - young Maori - to kick the habit. Some young people very close to me are dabbling in this horrible habit and it's devastating.

Still 600,000 Kiwis are smoking.

The stubborn ones aren't giving up. The taxes mean we collect $2.2 billion, but we need new measures if we're going to win this war. Limit sales, sell it from police stations only, limit sales times, make it harder or offer free alternatives to cigarettes. Go big, get creative.

The current path to being smokefree by 2025 is a joke and we will never get there.

We need bold leadership, like Harawira or Turia would give, except we have a bunch of church mice - bland, vanilla, gutless, and scared to stand for something in case they get offside with their party.

Duncan Garner is host of The AM Show, weekdays on Magic Talk, Three, and Newshub.