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Criminalising Māori smokers is not a solution

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Criminalising Māori smokers is not a solution
Martyn 'Bomber' Bradbury

Parliament is currently looking to criminalise smoking in cars with children. Seeing as the largest block of people this would impact are young Māori women, the idea of green-lighting Police to hassle young Māori women any more than they currently do sounds like a recipe for disaster.

65% of Māori offenders have a driving offence as part of their initial jail sentence and about 5% of jail sentences are just for driving without a license.

Criminalising smoking in the car will disproportionately target Māori women and it will lead to fines, people unable to pay the fines, penalties added and eventually imprisonment.

No one wants to see the next generation cursed by second hand smoke, but criminalising this isn't the solution. Why is it whenever the largest group who will be punished by a law are Māori, no one bothers to consider the counter-productive elements of such a law?

Surely the focus here should be in having smoke free environments, punishing smoking parents won't create those smoke free environments anymore than punishing parents for truancy will lift education levels.

When we remove the benefit from a beneficiary with children who fail drug tests, who exactly are we doing that for? It isn't the children who now have to live on 50% less welfare. It's funny that whenever Māori are the most impacted by any decision, there is simply no end to the level of punishment and suffering we collectively tolerate against them.

Criminalising parents who smoke in their cars isn't a solution, it just makes the entire situation worse.


Martyn Bradbury
Editor -

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