A health provider is calling on the government to ditch plans to repeal smokefree law, in order to improve health outcomes for Māori and the general public.

Hāpai Te Hauora, the National Māori Public Health Organisation, had been calling for the government to stop the repeal last year.

The amendments to the country’s smokefree legislation are set to be repealed by the National-led government.

The amendments would have taken cigarettes out of most dairies, lowered the nicotine levels in cigarettes, and denied sales to anyone born after 1 January 2009.

Hāpai Te Hauora interim chief executive officer Jason Alexander said the cancellation of the Smokefree Amendment Act would cost lives and the economy and would continue to burden the country’s already over-burdened health system.

He said many people had supported the legislation.

“Speaking to our communities every day, people want these laws, they were world-leading legislation so we should continue them at all costs. If not, if the government is set on this path, then we’re more than willing to work with them on some alternatives.”

Alexander said alternatives could involve raising the age for tobacco purchase to 25 and reducing the number of retail outlets.

Rallies to protest against government plans to repeal Smokefree legislation took place in Wellington and Auckland last month.