Key 'suspects' Big Tobacco won't stop Govt
Tue, 24 Jul 2012 8:17a.m.
By 3 News online staff
The Government is taking on the tobacco companies, and if Australia's example is anything to go by, it will be quite a fight.
Cigarette displays in shops are now banned, and the focus has switched to plain packaging.
But that could prompt cigarette companies and tobacco-growing countries to challenge our Government in court.
Prime Minister John Key says the prospect of a legal challenge can’t be ruled out, but it’s not an issue at this stage.
“It’s really a step ahead of where the Government is at the moment,” he says.
“We’re going through a consultation process – there’ll be a six month period where we have this consultation document out, we raise the issue, the implications of it, people have the chance to put in submissions”.
Mr Key says it is in the interest of the country to be smoke-free, despite any loss in tax revenue as a result.
“One thing you’ll hear from smokers is that they pay a lot of tax – that’s absolutely true and that tax has been increasing,” he says.
“On the other side the health costs for them are significant but that’s really sort of all in the wash, in a way. What I’m much more concerned about is the loss for their families.”
Mr Key says that without having specific advice from Crown Law, he believes the Government can legislate anti-smoking measures without being blocked by tobacco companies.
“In the end, New Zealand could legislate to say ‘you can’t have cigarette sales in New Zealand’ – that’s the ultimate step to banning [tobacco products],” he says.
“I just don’t think that would necessarily work well – I mean we ban things like drugs and have enough problems keeping them from being used.”
Watch the video for the full interview with John Key and Firstline’s Rachel Smalley.
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13/08/2012 1:21:01 p.m.
so when will we also be using plain packaging for alcohol? and putting the price of it up also. cigarettes increase in price each year so alcohol should be too.
5/08/2012 10:19:34 p.m.
This is fascist, freedom hating tyranny by the government.
26/07/2012 9:14:31 p.m.
@ Shelby: "The government receive %700 mil each year from tobacco companies to sell the products in the country, that should take care of smoking related diseases".
No it doesn't, and it won't. Your post does not go near what this article and interview are trying to address. Should the government approach the WTO to source 000's of your supposed remedy from wherever?
And in the meantime you've paid lip service to a preventable cause of illness - which is being discussed here if you cared to notice. Your last sentence is especially nonsensical.
26/07/2012 5:42:34 p.m.
Yes we hae problems with smokers, but there are some people that are more pre disposed to smoking, alcohol and sweet foods than others. Everyone knows that sugar feeds cancer and without sugar in your diet (chocolate companies can take note here) cancer doesn't have the food to morph into tunours. Have a look at the custard apple or better known as Guanabanana tree it cures cancer within a week of eating the fruit, it is grown tropically so we probably cant grow it here, but FDA and big Pharma know its prooerties and kept it a secret for over 30 years because they couldn't patent it and make money, so we as tax payers let them dicatate their "cancer cures"but we should take control ourselves. The government receive %700 mil each year from tobacco companies to sell the products in the country, that should take care of smoking related diseases. What about chocolate factories and lollies, they are in their lovely wrappers attracting unsuspecting peopel to provide money through cancer related illnesses so that the Pharm companies can make more money for the bigger picture of saving themselves. Everyone needs to look at the End game and see we are being sold short for our investment into our country.
26/07/2012 12:11:45 p.m.
@ David. You are the one 'p*****g into the proverbial wind'. Are cigarettes harmful or are they not?
Yes they are, and for that reason warrant regulations to address that harm, despite others that deserve attention (eg., alcohol).
I doubt you even listened to the interview, or read the article properly, because you would unwittingly allow a global tobacco company to dictate health policy to sovereign governments. I'm glad you're not the health minister. This is about the stance NZ has on plain packaging in accordance with Australian proposals. On global issues like this, Mr Key is representing all New Zealanders, whose health is affected.
For that reason, it's imperative that this stance/ belief (that Government can legislate anti-smoking measures without being blocked by tobacco companies) is found to be true. You refuse to accept the extent of tobacco harm that warrants attention, and then claim "conservative minds don't deal with change or advancement well at all". Yet plain packaging is a worthy advancement on these products. This shows you're not dealing well with change re: tobacco.
24/07/2012 2:12:24 p.m.
Lets face it many many things out there can kill us, ibuprofen can cause severe anaphylaxis and death.. but it still has a pretty package.. granted the side effect is rare.
Alcohol has a much bigger social and violence cost associated with it than cigarettes... overall it would be hard to argue which was worse as both come with heavy addiction issues.
One would have to argue that as both have a heavy social and medical cost associated with them.. I mean how many ER visists at night are alcohol related, so thats a huge cost to the tax payer by itself.
Arguing that alcohol can be taken in moderation is a complete fallacy... its a drug just like cigarettes... and although every addict swears they drink responsibly.. we all know those arguing that sensible drinking is perfectly fine are the addicts that need help the most.
The argument that sensible use of one drug is ok must make the argument "taking maijuana in moderate quantities is ok as well?" ok as wel, at least it does less damage and has been proven to be medically beneficial (in on to it countries at least.... Key and Dunne are a little "white, high income old boy conservative" on this issue).
And as we all know... conservative minds dont deal with change or advancement well at all.
Government still allows ibuprofen on the shelves of your local supermarkets though where kids can buy it, and still allow doctors to prescribe medications that have been shown to kill the wrong people as well and some of these come in really pretty packages as well.
Lets outlaw packaging... because obviously packaging is the root of all evil.
This is the government taking an idiot approach to smoking... either ban it or be happy collecting all those exhorbitant tax's.
Smokers die earlier and are far less likely to collect state pensions... what they cost the tax payer in the short term is balanced out by the fact that they are on less welfare overall.
24/07/2012 1:19:22 p.m.
To those saying alcohol causes as much damage, actually tobacco causes more deaths, it is the only product on the market when used as intended causes health problems and death. Some Alcohol actually has health benefits when used as intended. the problem with alcohol isn't actually alcohol it is that a small part of society abuse it. And for those who actually don't know the international laws it actually allows for governments to do far more than this when the laws they pass relating to a product such as tobacco are done for health reasons. There is no legal ground these companies have to stand on.
24/07/2012 1:18:33 p.m.
@Jane - What ill-informed rubbish, smokers pay more tax than what it costs to cover their health problems, and the government has openly admitted to this. What somebody does with their body is neither your business or mine. We can cut our debt by ending the war on drugs and save money by not p****ng into the proverbial wind.
24/07/2012 11:34:05 a.m.
Smokers cost this country far more in healthcare than the income their tax on the smokes generates.
Outright ban is the best & only answer. Next stop reducing off license alcohol sales.
24/07/2012 11:22:41 a.m.
Chris Knight wrote:
If the government is so keen to have plain packaging on tobacco products, then why not the same for alcohol products. Alcohol is at least as damaging to the nations health as tobacco.
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