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Protest Planned Against New Vape Shop Opening in Parakai

Locals in Parakai, located in northwest Auckland near Helensville, are gathering on Tuesday 1 August to protest the opening of a new vape retailer located directly adjacent to Parakai School.

Vape-Free Kids NZ (VFK NZ) spokesperson Marnie Wilton says communities across the country are sick of seeing vape retailers near schools, despite the Government’s proposed changes from October. The grassroots group with more than 1600 members is calling for urgent action to prevent harm to rangatahi from vaping. VFK NZ’s two petitions now have more than 11,000 signatures and will be presented to Parliament on Wednesday 16 August at 1pm.

“Specialist vape retailers (SVRs) are rushing to open up before the rules limiting new stores within 300 metres of schools and marae come into effect from October, like this one in Parakai. The loophole that allows dairies and supermarkets to continue selling vapes right next to schools after October also clearly needs to be closed,” says Wilton.

Parakai School Board Member and protest organiser Tammy Downer says “Our community is flabbergasted that the Vaping Regulatory Authority has approved this store. This is effectively a billboard for vaping that our children will be passing as they enter and leave the school each day. It is also disappointing that a local landlord allowed this on his premises.”

Parakai School Principal Yolanda Choromanski also expressed concern about a vape store opening so close to the school. “We all have a role to play in raising our children in safe, healthy communities. Our school is heavily invested in multiple programs, alongside a number of agencies to build strong, confident, resilient, healthy young people. We see the opening of the vape store as a direct contradiction to what our community is working to achieve.”  

Those who are concerned about the vape store opening are invited to attend the protest on Tuesday, 1 August, 3:45 pm at 133F Parkhurst Road, Parakai.