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Key tells of mother-in-law's death

NZ NewswireNZ Newswire 1/06/2016

John Key with his wife Bronagh and son Max © RNZ / Diego Opatowski John Key with his wife Bronagh and son Max Prime Minister John Key has told parliament his mother-in-law died of a smoking-related illness before she had seen her grandchildren.

"I saw my mother-in-law die at a very, very young age from smoking," he said.

"She was 53. She did not get to see our kids growing up.

"Personally, I know that when she was 53 and on her deathbed, she would have given everything to have made an earlier decision not to smoke."

Irene Dougan died of cancer in 1991, before Mr Key and his wife Bronagh's son Max and daughter Stephie were born.

Mr Key was speaking during question time on Wednesday after NZ First leader Winston Peters had questioned statistics on the cost to society of smoking.

"We are trying desperately hard to encourage people to stop so that they can live a longer life," Mr Key said.

The government confirmed in last week's budget that tobacco excise would continue to increase by 10 per cent a year for the next four years.

On Tuesday it released draft regulations on the plain packaging of tobacco products.

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