Simon Collins pimps a hard luck story for anti-smoking troughers

Simon Collins is the go-to person for hard luck stories, and he is pimping a story about the defunding of anti-smoking lobby groups.

New Zealand’s biggest anti-smoking lobby groups face likely closure after a Government decision to slash funding for anti-smoking advocacy.

The Smokefree Coalition will close next month, Action on Smoking and Health (Ash) faces closure unless it can find new funding sources, and Smokefree Nurses Aotearoa and Pacific anti-smoking agency Tala Pasifika have all lost their funding from this week.

Instead, the Ministry of Health has awarded a single national anti-smoking advocacy contract to West Auckland-based Maori health agency Hapai Te Hauora.

Total funding for national advocacy has been cut from $1.7 million to $450,000.

ASH should be closed down. They have severe issues, most particularly with their bombastic CEO who has had several employment-related matters ongoing and has also recently been hauled into court for non-payment of rent, after they skipped out without paying from their former rented premises. They eventually settled but had to be dragged kicking and screaming through the whole process.

The advocacy groups receive an inordinate amount of publicity for their efforts, but governments should not be funding advocacy groups. They should be funding proper research and not the mumbo-jumbo usually chucked out by the likes of Otago University.

Instead, the Ministry of Health has awarded a single national anti-smoking advocacy contract to West Auckland-based Maori health agency Hapai Te Hauora.

Total funding for national advocacy has been cut from $1.7 million to $450,000.

Ministry service commissioning director Jill Lane said the funding cut from advocacy would be redirected into “strengthening our frontline cessation services with improved training to get better quit results”.

The training budget has jumped from $286,000 to $1.6 million, lifting total spending on advocacy and training from $2.26 million to $2.37 million.

Ms Lane said the ministry’s total spending on tobacco control, including the Quitline service, was $61 million.

This too is wasted money. Tobacco control funding has been at about that level for donkey’s years. When I presented evidence to the select committee about the ineffectiveness of such groups and systems there were 700,000 smokers in NZ….and had been for at least 5 years. The numbers quoted these days are around 600,000…and five years have elapsed…and spending of more than $300 million…or more than $3000 for each smoker who has stopped.

There has got to be a better way of dealing with this than continually burning cash on ineffectual solutions…legalising vaping might be a much cheaper solution…but then the troughers won’t need their $61 million per annum and that is the real reason they oppose vaping.

 

– NZ Herald


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As much at home writing editorials as being the subject of them, Cam has won awards, including the Canon Media Award for his work on the Len Brown/Bevan Chuang story. When he’s not creating the news, he tends to be in it, with protagonists using the courts, media and social media to deliver financial as well as death threats.

They say that news is something that someone, somewhere, wants kept quiet. Cam Slater doesn’t do quiet and, as a result, he is a polarising, controversial but highly effective journalist who takes no prisoners.

He is fearless in his pursuit of a story.

Love him or loathe him, you can’t ignore him.

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