Maori smokers have been let down by Auckland Council's 'Smokefree by 2025' policy, a damning review has found. The review, by Auckland Council policy analyst Kimberly Rees, found the policy was "not on track" to achieve the desired results for Maori and was not on track to achieve the policy objective for Maori" and had not been executed effectively or efficiently. There have been no Maori-specific smokefree initiatives carried out as a result of the policy to date, the review states, despite Maori being the most prevalent smokers in New Zealand.
The policy, which kicked off in 2013, aims for smokers to make up less than five per cent of Auckland's population by 2025. While the target was set to be met overall, the review predicted Maori would still be smoking at a disproportionately high rate. Thirty per cent of Maori adults currently smoke and the council forecasts a drop to 12 per cent by 2025 if the policy remains unchanged. Auckland's regional strategy and policy committee will discuss the policy's future on August 4. Developing a whole new policy - without a bylaw - was the council's recommended way forward. Other options were strengthening the existing policy's implementation, investigating a smokefree bylaw, and sticking with the status quo.