The abduction and rape of a Timaru woman is proof that banning smoking in pubs should not have got the green light, according to ACT leader Rodney Hide, an opponent of the law change.
“What a horrible thing to happen,” he said of the incident in which the woman was abducted while outside having a smoke.
“But let’s get one thing straight, the people to blame for this are the rapists.
“But there is no doubt when the Government is trying to boss people round this kind of unintended consequence can happen.”
The incident proved people would be more vulnerable if they had to go outside and smoke, something Prime Minister Helen Clark had not thought of, he said.
“We should never let criminals off the hook. We have to get tougher with them.”
Mr Hide has been an outspoken critic of the smoke-free legislation since it was first announced.
The legislation came into effect on December 10, forcing all licensed premises including restaurants, bars, pubs, clubs and casinos to become smoke-free.
Detective Sergeant Marion Neill of the Timaru CIB said it was a “big leap” to say Monday night’s incident was related to the legislation.
“It’s a big leap to be saying that and I would not be in a position to comment. I don’t think we can make an assumption at this early stage,” she said
Ban Damage: NZ Abduction And Rape Of Smoking Woman
Originally written : By Nathan Beaumont