Online advertisements for coffee and alcohol products are coming under fire from anti-smoking campaigners as they are being sold by a company with links to the tobacco industry.
The National Party has accused the advertising firm of being a “money-laundering machine” after it bought a company that runs the company which runs the ads, which include advertisements for drinks, snacks and other products.
“I would like to ask the Government how much money they are spending on tobacco advertising and what is going on behind the scenes,” Labour’s environment spokesman, John Key, said.
“They need to know how this is being funded, what the money is being spent on, and who is behind it.”
Key said the company had “fraudulently and dishonestly” bought a product from the Australian company Kiwi Kiosk, which also operates the online advertising for tobacco products.
It also has links to Australia’s largest tobacco company, which owns the tobacco giant, Reynolds American.
The NPA said it was concerned about the use of tobacco products in the advertising.
“We believe that advertising should be about helping Kiwis to help themselves and the environment, not a marketing tool to try to drive more smokers into smoking,” NPA deputy leader Mark Evans said.
The advertisement, which ran in print in the Herald-Sun newspaper on Thursday, is part of a campaign by the NPA, which has long argued against advertising in the media on tobacco products because it has been linked to smoking and the development of the lung.NPA deputy leadership Mark Evans, left, and New Zealand First leader Winston Peters hold a press conference in Auckland on Thursday.NZ First leader Mark Griffiths said the ads were “not an acceptable form of advertising”.
“It is absolutely unacceptable to have advertising companies taking advantage of Kiwis,” he said.
“This is a campaign to drive up smoking rates in New Zealand and we need to be clear that we do not accept this.”
Key has criticised the NLP for its use of online advertising and said he would not be swayed by such campaigns.
“The National Government has a history of making it difficult for Kiwis who have a negative view about tobacco to buy and to access the product, and they are not taking the necessary steps to prevent this happening,” he told Radio New Zealand.
“I don’t think the public should have to go through this, and I would urge the Government to step in.”
Key and the NPP are both backing a New Zealand Bill that would allow tobacco companies to advertise in print without government approval, while NZ First has also pushed to introduce legislation to allow for this.
New Zealand’s National Party leader Winston Churchill has said he will support the bill, and the Greens have called for a public debate on the issue.