Shearer defends Key over 'wimp' quip
Tue, 24 Jul 2012 12:33p.m.
Labour leader David Shearer is backing Prime Minister John Key's stance on plain packaging of tobacco products, and disagrees with one of his MPs who is calling Mr Key a "wimp".
Labour MP Clare Curran called Mr Key a wimp on Twitter after he said plain packaging was "not a slam dunk", with the Government waiting to hear the views of businesses and the public before moving on the issue.
A law change banning tobacco companies' logos could prompt a costly legal challenge over intellectual property, with estimates the taxpayer could have to stump up $2 million to defend a World Trade Organisation (WTO) case, or up to $6m for a court case - and more in compensation if it lost.
Mr Shearer does not support Ms Curran's view, saying Mr Key is right to look at the issues around a law change.
"What he is doing is checking out what's entailed in terms of costs and then, hopefully, we will be able to move forward and have plain paper packaging," he said.
Mr Shearer says he is hopeful corporations will not bully the Government into dodging the issue.
"We are a sovereign country and we should do what we need to do in the interests of the health of New Zealanders."
Mr Key says it is not yet known whether plain packaging could be an issue if New Zealand signs the Trans-Pacific Partnership trade deal, which includes the United States - a country he admits makes a "big deal" of intellectual property.
"In any negotiation, there's give and take, so the overall way that the government will look at it is, is it in New Zealand's best interests to negotiate and complete the TPP?" he said.
"On everything so far, the advice we've seen is yes."
Australia is facing a court challenge from Philip Morris Asia, while tobacco-producing countries have lodged a claim with the WTO.
Mr Key says it's likely the court case will be completed before the end of the government's consultation period, so the government will be able to get a sense of the issues around plain packaging.
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26/07/2012 12:26:09 p.m.
Funny alright, I guess that’s what comes with having nothing to offer NZ as a political party. Anyone voting for labour next time round would have to be medicated.
24/07/2012 2:10:15 p.m.
Shearer is a wimp - why Labour voted him in is beyond belief. The rank and file hate him as do over half his MPs. He has to go but again there is no one of any substance to replace him.
24/07/2012 2:00:40 p.m.
Labour in disaray again - who is the wimp now Shearer ? Labour are truly pathetic. They remained disorganised and leaderless. Labour are a joke.
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