23 Jul 2015

Ministry urged to help Maori quit

9:40 am on 23 July 2015

The Maori Affairs Select Committee says the Ministry of Health needs to engage with whanau more effectively to help them stop smoking.

Of the more than 500,000 smokers in New Zealand, 165,000 are Maori.

The select committee said the ministry's information and initiatives are not enough, and more kanohi ki te kanohi support is needed for whānau.

But the ministry's tobacco control programme manager, Paul Badco, defended its record of engagement.

"Pretty much all of the face-to-face services are Maori and Pasifika providers. What we want to make sure is that those services are in the right place for getting the most effectiveness."

Labour MP Rino Tirikatene asked the Ministry of Health which of the initiatives is proving successful.

Ministry group manager Deborah Woodley didn't answer the question specifically, but said there were a range of programmes.

"What we do know is that a comprehensive package is really important because they are foundational. If we are wanting to focus on quitting, we have some very important initiatives around our health target, around our cessation support services and the sort of work we are doing in the innovation space."

National MP Tutehounuku Korako ended the session by saying more work was needed to stop Maori from staying on the wrong side of the statistics.

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