Maori Party Co-Leader Marama Fox featured on the news on Saturday (25 June 2016) having walked out on a discussion with a tabacco company spokesman on TV3’s program ‘The Nation’. She testily put down her microphone and left the interview telling him he should “crawl back into the hole that is reserved for the corporate executioners”. I couldn’t help but agree with her sentiments. Interviewer Lisa Owen rebuked and reminded her that Imperial Tobacco’s Axel Gietz was an invited guest … we know what side she is on of course … serving her corporate employers.
The purpose of the discussion was the fact that NZ had decided to go down the road of compulsory plain tobacco packaging and Gietz had not ruled out the possibility of suing the NZ government for this.
“Imperial Tobacco make billions of dollars every year profiting off misery and death. You are a peddler of death, that is what you get your money from and … you come to NZ in some public service to help us in the debate when we already knows that it kills our children” … Maori Party Co-leader Marama Fox
“For the last 27 years I have not attended a funeral of someone in our family” said Fox, “and I’ve attended numerous funerals – who has died of natural causes”.
This was reminiscent of Hone Harawira’s challenges to the tobacco corporates. He often cites a statement by one of Big Tobacco’s CEOs:
“We don’t smoke this shit – we sell it. We reserve the right to smoke it, to the young, the poor, the black, and the stupid.”
Back in 2006 he questioned them on that statement at the launch of TOA (Tobacco Out of Aotearoa). Harawira said … “today we launch a campaign to rid our country of bastards who think like this, the companies they work for, and the poison they sell us”. Statistically he said, cigarette smoking accounts for one third of all Maori deaths and Maori women have the highest rate of lung cancer in the world. Tobacco also accounted for 4500 Kiwi deaths in 2006. (Read more about his campaign at this link).
Back in March 2010 at the Auckland hearings of the Māori Affairs Select Committee inquiry, British American Tobacco NZ (BAT NZ) representatives were grilled by a Select Committee that included Harawira, following their presentation on tobacco. (Read more on that at the link).
Targeting the Vulnerable
Whilst the point is always made by all sides of the argument that people have a choice, while that is true, I would add nevertheless that these companies are decidedly predatory. They aggressively target the young and vulnerable. This is documented in their own internal planning documents exposed in this documentary on how Indonesian children as young as two years old have an addiction to cigarette smoking. These companies target nations that have little or no regulatory frameworks around tobacco sales so they exist in the same time warp the West did back in the ’40s and ’50s when the medical profession was promoting tobacco as good for one’s health.
The point here is, the tobacco companies now know that smoking is a health risk, yet they are taking full advantage of the ignorance of this fact by poorer countries. Now if that is not predatory I don’t know what is.
If you doubt that children are targeted, check out this documentary on BAT which goes undercover and exposes their tactics, unashamedly targeting and recruiting eleven year old children. The children in the Indonesian link above believe that smoking will make them wise and intelligent and help them pass their exams.
They know no shame so why not shame them publicly, like Fox and Harawira have? Why pander to these wealthy “corporate executioners” who have no qualms about trading in children’s lives.
Corporations, for any who aren’t aware, are about profits not people. A timely reminder. Our country NZ is a corporation as also are many if not most of its former so called government departments. So also are our District Councils. Again, their focus is profits and the fact they are corporations explains their flagrant disregard nowadays for democratic processes. Corporations simply aren’t democratic. They operate for the shareholder first and foremost. They need to be challenged.
The same medical industry that claimed smoking was good for our health is still at it by either condoning or failing to speak out about the health risks of other products like glyphosate, fluoride, GM food and mercury . Corporations often conduct little if any research before their wares are released … what is required is often done in secret and the results are often kept from the public. Then they foist them upon the public without prior consent and often without our knowledge, as has been the case with GM food. We are not guinea pigs and it will only be when people like Fox and Harawira stand up and challenge them, and when we the public refuse to buy their wares, that any changes are going to come about. As for our media, having lost any last vestiges of ethics and honesty as they continue their corporate mergers … there is little point in listening to them any more.
Stand up folks and put a stop to their monopoly.
See our Corporation pages for more info & links, &/or search categories for further corporation articles (at left of any page). In particular I recommend you watch the doco on the Corporations page (scroll to bottom) called ‘The Corporation’. This explains what a corporation is and how it works. It will join dots for you in terms of what is currently happening in our country.
Please also consider liking our FB page &/or following our blog, and do spread the word on all the untruths we have been told!
Maori Party co-leader Marama Fox – interview