Regulating tobacco may hurt others – Groser
Sun, 08 Jul 2012 1:37p.m.
Trade Minister Tim Groser says the Government's plan to force tobacco companies to use plain packaging could set a precedent of concern to businesses "outside tobacco".
Cabinet has agreed in principle to introduce plain packaging for all tobacco products, following a similar move in Australia where the Government is involved in a legal battle.
US business groups have warned that plain packaging for tobacco could backfire on exports, such as dairy and wine, saying that New Zealand could not push for free trade when it was regulating itself.
Mr Groser told TV3’s The Nation there were complexities in following Australia's lead and introducing plain packaging for tobacco products.
He said there was an argument that plain packaging could remove the tobacco companies' intellectual property.
"We need to listen carefully, especially to other companies that would be very concerned if we were setting a precedent on this," he said.
"That might actually go against our own interests."
Legislation would have to be properly designed, he said.
"I'm thinking really outside tobacco I should say."
Critics have said the policy may face legal challenges and contravene trade treaties but Prime Minister John Key said in June that "to the best of my knowledge we have the sovereign ability to control what is on our shelves".
The Government wants to make New Zealand smoke-free by 2025.
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9/07/2012 12:15:39 p.m.
I dont see how pictures or not is going to make any difference to people buying smokes. Mike if you are looking for Nationals answers, as they obviously cant find any themselves, maybe you could direct them to higher taxes on alcohol as more of the population use this and the cost to the average kiwi is much more than the revenue gained at present. A tax on the unhealthy foods causing obesity is another area which could bring a healthy bank balance to the nation. Yes its another tax but lets be honest and call it tax instead of the lies our politicians are calling revenue at the present.
9/07/2012 10:54:51 a.m.
Mike's response disproves the 'everybody knows how harmful smoking is' claim by equating tobacco with other products and unique identifiers. And to state that superannuitants die as a result of payments, well that's just myopic.
He 'can make up any claim' he wants, but there's still an inconsistency in what Tim Groser said early in the interview (re "NZ backs Aust 100%") and his later statement about regulation harming other business.
Tobacco kills, and TPP negotiations threaten NZ's sovereign right to regulate in proportion to this harm. If legitimate businesses really care about their trading potential, they'd call the tobacco industry out for their conduct (Refer the 'standard description').
9/07/2012 12:04:35 a.m.
People collecting Super die, therefore should we ban all Super payments as it kills 100% of its receivers!Can make any argument up to support any stance.I dont agree with smoking and think we need to make it more expensive to smoke and less tollerated in society. We have speding fines, lets add smoking fines. It has been done overseas and where fines were enforced there was a marked decrease in smoking where smoking bans existed.I dont agree with plain packaging on anything. If plain packaging is okay, the political parties should adopt it first. If the political parties wont adopt plain packaging themselves, why should products have it forced on them? They already added the graphical pictures on the packs, the smoking kills/causes cancer warnings. but like every other measure of that type, the public adjusts and they just buy it as if the pictures etc were not even there, ie buy it without seeing the pictures intended for smokers. The plain packaging will have zero long term effect and only a small short term effect. Higher taxes will have a greater effect, plus raise more taxes.
8/07/2012 6:01:29 p.m.
Early in the interview he said:
"We're supporting Australia 100% by the way in terms of these challenges to legislation in Geneva, and we're supporting them morally because we're not involved in their dispute through the Hong Kong investment treaty".
Australia have stated that they'll not back down on plain packaging proposals, and for NZ to hold this position on tighter regulation(that 'other business outside tobacco' might be harmed) is hardly '100% support'.
Let other businesses reflect on the uniquely harmful nature of tobacco products that other products do not possess, and that legislation in proportion to this harm is warranted.
To make this claim, Mr Groser is paying lip service to the oft-repeated standard description:
"Tobacco is the only legally available product that when used as the manufacturer intends, kills half the users".
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