The stop smoking vouchers

January 4th, 2014 at 12:00 pm by David Farrar

The Herald editorial:

Predictably, there is outrage over a scheme in South Auckland that offers women smokers a voucher for up to $300 if they stop while pregnant, to avoid the harm that tobacco can do to an unborn baby. But all the talk about the mother’s personal responsibility and the like disregards a couple of salient facts.

The most important of these is the price an unborn child might pay for a mother’s failure to act in its interests. Society also gains when the benefit of preventing smoking-related birth complications far outweighs the cost of the vouchers, which can be spent only on groceries, baby products, cinema tickets or petrol.

I don’t have a problem with the scheme if the benefits outweigh the costs, which looks likely. But what I do have an issue with, is that it is restricted to Maori and Pacific mothers only, rather than all pregnant mothers who smoke.

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44 Responses to “The stop smoking vouchers”

  1. igm (1,413 comments) says:

    Taxpayers screwed by the usual recipients once more.

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  2. Andrei (2,668 comments) says:

    Let’s see if I’ve got this right – the DHB is concerned about “the harm that tobacco does to an unborn baby in the womb” while at the same time killing goodness on knows how many “unborn babies” in their mothers wombs in the procedure euphemistically named “termination”. .

    There seems to be a logical inconsistency here

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  3. OneTrack (3,237 comments) says:

    equality – New Zealand style.

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  4. OneTrack (3,237 comments) says:

    And will an army of inspectors be employed to make sure the $300 bucks isnt just spent on more cigarettes?

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  5. Nostalgia-NZ (5,283 comments) says:

    Unfortunately I can’t accept that mothers of unborn children don’t know the danger they may be causing to the child. If it’s got as ‘bad’ as paying them to stop then it’s highly likely the few that would fall into that category will soon start smoking again. In the event that it is provided only to women from part of the population it’s probably discriminatory anyway.

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  6. MH (817 comments) says:

    having identified a harmful racial trend by one taxpayer run organisation we can now expect the same applied criteria to combat other social ills on this particular group? Apartheid? Brown queues to the left and please have your voucher hand stamped on the way out. A bus will take you to an approved store and leaves every hour. If you need to smoke on the bus please use the receptacles provided. Free contraceptives are avilable with instructions in te reo

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  7. safesally (47 comments) says:

    Pregnant women who smoke should be jailed for child abuse and the children adopted by humans.
    What are the penalties for a diary owner who sells cigarettes to children? or a bar owner who serves someone under aged?
    Yet we tolerate these pigs forcing a drug addiction on innocent children who cannot escape.

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  8. Cactus Kate (551 comments) says:

    Money would be far better spent giving $5000 to these women not to have kids at all

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  9. eszett (2,432 comments) says:

    Andrei (2,224 comments) says:
    January 4th, 2014 at 12:14 pm
    Let’s see if I’ve got this right – the DHB is concerned about “the harm that tobacco does to an unborn baby in the womb” while at the same time killing goodness on knows how many “unborn babies” in their mothers wombs in the procedure euphemistically named “termination”. .

    There seems to be a logical inconsistency here

    Only to those who find logic challenging, Andrei.

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  10. Longknives (4,889 comments) says:

    Cactus Kate you beat me to it. $5000 to not breed would potentially save hundreds of thousands in DPB payments, Prison costs etc etc down the track…

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  11. Longknives (4,889 comments) says:

    “equality – New Zealand style.”

    Just wait until we get our shiny new ‘Constitution’.
    The consequences are horrendous for ‘non-Maori’ New Zealanders….

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  12. flash2846 (289 comments) says:

    I am so over working 60 hours every week when I could have the same net income working 40 hours if I wasn’t forced to pay for creeps like these trash mothers.
    I don’t care how it is done I just want these creeps to stop breeding and good people to start.

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  13. Urban_Redneck (108 comments) says:

    There seems to be a logical inconsistency here

    It’s big government liberalism/progressivism Andrei. No one said it’s supposed to make sense !

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  14. Simon (764 comments) says:

    What really is happening is that so many south auckland mothers turning up at A&E giving birth and it is the first time CMDHB knows about the pregnancy. There has been no antenatal assessments which often leads to tragic results.

    The $300 is an attempted bribe to get them all to register so they are in the system and can get the help they and the baby need. From here on in every mother will tick smoking on the form for the purposes of getting the $300.

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  15. kowtow (8,784 comments) says:

    I’m outraged that the editorial did not address the racist nature and possible illegality of this scheme.

    The Aotearoification of New Zealand continues .

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  16. bc (1,377 comments) says:

    Flash – no one is forcing you to work 60 hours a week. Looking for sympathy or maybe our heartfelt thanks??

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  17. bc (1,377 comments) says:

    Back to the voucher scheme – I’m not a fan of it. Giving up smoking requires a strong will, I doubt that a bribe of $300 will provide the determination required to give up.
    What happens if the woman starts smoking again after she gets the voucher?
    How many times can you get the voucher?

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  18. eszett (2,432 comments) says:

    bc, the way I understand it is they get a vouchers for each week they have gone smokefree for up to 12 weeks.

    http://www.countiesmanukau.health.nz/AchievingBalance/Better-Health-Outcomes/smokefree2025/PregnancyServices/SPS-home.htm

    Pregnant women that fit the criteria will receive face to face support at a convenient location, subsidised nicotine replacement and will benefit from receiving vouchers for groceries, baby goods or other items for each Smokefree week up to 12 weeks. This is a total of $300 and vouchers can be chosen from a selection of places.

    I suspect that SImon is pretty much on the money regarding secondary objectives of this program

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  19. Fentex (1,040 comments) says:

    Back to the voucher scheme – I’m not a fan of it. Giving up smoking requires a strong will, I doubt that a bribe of $300 will provide the determination required to give up.

    I think, given that you’d have to be very foolish to think a $300 bribe would suffice to encourage someone to stop smoking, that Simon’s observation…

    The $300 is an attempted bribe to get them all to register so they are in the system and can get the help they and the baby need.

    …seems very credible, and smart. It’s a little devious but if successful would be a cost effective (isn’t there a blog somewhere that likes to insist cost-benefit be considered on this sort of thing?) solution to a problem.

    But one wishes the people who think up such things would be a little bit smarter and not, if reported accurately, include race in any criteria. If there’s a need to restrict it’s application for fear of expense just means test it.

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  20. kowtow (8,784 comments) says:

    bc

    Does that stand for benefit claimant?

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  21. bc (1,377 comments) says:

    Nope.

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  22. bc (1,377 comments) says:

    Best contributor!!

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  23. ZenTiger (435 comments) says:

    A lot of women will be done in by second hand smoke…if the equipment is half good.

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  24. dirty harry (517 comments) says:

    “that it is restricted to Maori and Pacific mothers only,”

    Blatant racism pure and simple.

    Sickening.

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  25. Psycho Milt (2,419 comments) says:

    What really is happening is that so many south auckland mothers turning up at A&E giving birth and it is the first time CMDHB knows about the pregnancy. There has been no antenatal assessments which often leads to tragic results.

    The $300 is an attempted bribe to get them all to register so they are in the system and can get the help they and the baby need.

    This is effectively support for Cactus Kate’s argument – it would make far more sense to pay such people not to have children in the first place.

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  26. dime (10,135 comments) says:

    What the fuck?

    I’m over this racist shit.

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  27. igm (1,413 comments) says:

    How much is that drunk driver with five kids onboard getting already. I presume there will be another sprog up the spout with a few extra bucks to screw the taxpayers for ontap?

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  28. Nuwanda (83 comments) says:

    “I don’t have a problem with the scheme if the benefits outweigh the costs, which looks likely. But what I do have an issue with, is that it is restricted to Maori and Pacific mothers only, rather than all pregnant mothers who smoke.”

    That’s a pretty illogical argument, DPF.

    As a non-smoker why shouldn’t I object to subsidising *any* smokers to quit? Actually, I do. But you would argue that it’s a cost-benefit thing, right? As a non-smoker it’s somehow in my interests (reduced taxes for health, etc.) to subsidise smokers into quitting.

    But the same logic applies to targeting Maori. Relative to the rest of the population Maori have a significantly higher smoking rate. The cost benefit of targeting them is potentially far higher than targeting non-Maori smokers.

    [DPF: You don’t need to target by race, as the best targeting is pregnant women who smoke, regardless of race. They don’t have to go out to the wider population]

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  29. MH (817 comments) says:

    Smoke detectors outside of every living womb….bit intrusive though.

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  30. eszett (2,432 comments) says:

    [DPF: You don’t need to target by race, as the best targeting is pregnant women who smoke, regardless of race. They don’t have to go out to the wider population]

    True, but it would also be good to find out why exactly they are targeting Maori and PI mothers before condemning it.

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  31. greenjacket (487 comments) says:

    So there is a policy to stop mothers from harming their babies.
    And it only applies to Maori and Pacific Islanders in South Auckland.
    .
    Here we have a policy that is predicated on the assumption that South Auckland Maoris and Pacific Islanders are a danger to children.
    I thought racial profiling was illegal?

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  32. Nuwanda (83 comments) says:

    “[DPF: You don’t need to target by race, as the best targeting is pregnant women who smoke, regardless of race. They don’t have to go out to the wider population]”

    Huh? You’re only moving the target, not the principle.

    Fact is, you’re targeting something according to a cost-benefit argument. Doesn’t matter if it’s pregnant women, Maori women, or women with red hair. That’s my point. Your race argument is specious. If it’s a good thing to target pregnant women, as opposed to say just targeting women in general, then it’s an even greater good to target pregnant Maori women than just pregnant women. Why does the cost-benefit argument suddenly stop applying when the targeting is by race? Surely targeting pregnant women is discriminating against non-pregnant women? Or targeting women is discriminating against men. Sexism!

    You can’t have your cost-benefit cake and eat it, too. Either a cost-benefit justification is proper or it’s not. And since you believe it is then targeting Maori women is perfectly proper since Maori have a nearly double smoking rate than non-Maori and any cost involved in targeting them will have a potentially greater benefit.

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  33. Flyingkiwi9 (54 comments) says:

    What’s more embarrassing is a mere $300 will actually incentivise some people not to smoke during pregnancy.

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  34. Flyingkiwi9 (54 comments) says:

    Its interesting – tomorrow we’ll be told the rich are stealing from the poor and are definetly the root of everyones problems. Yet people like this still exist in the world. Hm.

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  35. Manolo (14,082 comments) says:

    Free tobacco anyone?

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  36. Chuck Bird (4,929 comments) says:

    I just read the 32 comments the Herald allowed to be published in relation to their editorial. I would be pretty sure not one of them mentions the racially discriminatory aspect to this policy. My did but it was not published. The Herald through the selective editing of the comments can greatly influence public option. The will probably allow other comments mentioning race in a few days when not too many people will bother to read old comments.

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  37. Warren Murray (314 comments) says:

    Im unsure what principle is being promoted here. If some kind of incentive scheme is being trialled, then may be it is worth considering. But why only Maori / PI women? Surely a pilot scheme could be operated on a non racial basis.

    If the unborn child’s welfare is being protected, then shouldn’t women who are regular drug users and drinkers be eligible?

    You can see where this is headed. Before we adopt a rental property WOF, perhaps a WOF needs to be applied to parents.

    A well intentioned policy starts to look daft me thinks.

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  38. SPC (5,787 comments) says:

    The targeting seems pointless, as commentators have said here for years, we know that its only those people on benefits who only breed for a living that do all the smoking (drinking, Sky and pets). I don’t get why a mere $300 would bribe those so good at so much with so little – their meagre benefit rations.

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  39. Steve Wrathall (285 comments) says:

    As offensive as paying repeat drunk drivers $300 if they manage to drive sober for 9 months.

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  40. SPC (5,787 comments) says:

    They would save more than $300 in tax by ending their smoking for 9 months.

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  41. ManuT (56 comments) says:

    Response to:
    Chuck Bird (4,168 comments) says:
    January 4th, 2014 at 8:16 pm
    I just read the 32 comments the Herald allowed to be published………

    I hear you Chuck. I posted some positive comments about John Key and Bill English on the Radio Live site and their left wing censor deleted all of my comments. There was no swearing or insults just nice things about the PM etc.
    I went back and had a friendly debate with a reasonably intelligent leftie and my polite arguments were also deleted leaving a one sided conversation.
    Radio Live is now formally banned by me.

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  42. Shazzadude (531 comments) says:

    ” But what I do have an issue with, is that it is restricted to Maori and Pacific mothers only, rather than all pregnant mothers who smoke.”

    I presume there’s no verification tests done to prove people smoke, so my guess is that it’s to minimise the number of people who claim they’re smokers but aren’t to pocket an easy $300. 50% of Maori women are smokers (and that percentage is probably higher amongst those who get pregnant regularly) versus 16% of Pakeha women.

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  43. Chuck Bird (4,929 comments) says:

    Hospital’s taxi rebuffs upset patient

    By Martin Johnston
    5:30 AM Monday Jan 6, 2014

    Hospital’s taxi rebuffs upset patient

    By Martin Johnston
    5:30 AM Monday Jan 6, 2014

    Hospital should pay for a ride home after early morning discharges, claims sick mother.

    The Counties Manukau District Health Board spends more than $2 million a year on travel – but it didn’t offer to pay for a taxi when it discharged Natasha Teller overnight.

    She is speaking out after the DHB’s apology to Muriel Murdoch. Last July, Mrs Murdoch, 79, was treated for a fall on concrete and sent home from Middlemore Hospital’s emergency department in a hospital-paid taxi about 1.30am.

    http://www.nzherald.co.nz/lifestyle/news/article.cfm?c_id=6&objectid=11181786

    The Counties Manukau District Health Board can afford to pay $300 for Maori and PI pregnant women to stop smoking but kick people out in the middle of the night who come in by ambulance and have no money for a taxi. Not everyone has family close by.

    Maybe the hospital should not be obliged to pay for a taxi but it is a matter of priorities. The $300 carrot should be the lowest priority even if they get rid of the racist part of the policy.

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  44. Shazzadude (531 comments) says:

    Chuck Bird-while I agree that the early morning discharge policy is unjust in some instances, I don’t see how moves to ensure unborn children aren’t born with lung damage suddenly become low priority.

    If it was up to me, smoking while pregnant would be illegal, but the feminists would never stand for that.

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