Smokefree legislation scrapping narrative 'has got away on itself' - Associate Health Minister Casey Costello

NZ First's Casey Costello is rejecting criticism of the Government's decision to repeal smoking regulation.  

The decision by the National-ACT-NZ First Coalition to ditch Labour's laws to phase out smoking has hit headlines around the world.  

It's prompted some health experts and the Opposition, who have described it as a backwards step, to fiercely criticise the Government.  

However, Costello - the Associate Health Minister - was rejecting those lines of criticism.  

"I think the narrative has got away on itself," she told AM, speaking to host Ryan Bridge.  

"You're talking about reversing the amendments to the legislation because we just think it's bad legislation and that's the reality; this isn't about walking away from smokefree, it's not about walking away from reducing smoking addiction - nicotine addiction - it's about practical, workable legislation that will actually have some impact."  

Bridge asked Costello about what the new Government was going to do to further bring smoking rates down.  

Costello highlighted education programmes around smoking, which she said were already working.  

"The shifting away from cigarette-based, nicotine tobacco products is working - we just think move forward.  

"What you're talking about is, in about four years' time, a 19-year-old won't be able to buy a tobacco product - the retailer's going to be dealing with that situation. I just think there's smarter legislation.  

"The level of violence and resistance that's happening in shops now... you're going to have retailers dealing with, 'Show me your ID', 'Oh, no, I'm sorry, you're born in 2009' - this sort of stuff, I just think there are smarter ways to deal with this."  

The Government has promised to repeal the amendments to the Smokefree Environments and Regulated Products Act during its first 100 days in office.