Turia pleased by tobacco ruling
Wed, 15 Aug 2012 2:56p.m.
By Kim Choe
Associate Health Minister Tariana Turia says the Australian government’s victory over tobacco companies in the High Court gives the New Zealand Government a greater sense of security as it looks to introduce similar measures here.
The Australian High Court’s landmark decision today allows the Australian government to force cigarette companies to sell their products in plain packaging.
Ms Turia says she has been following the Australian case with “huge interest”.
“We are extremely pleased that the decision now confirms that Australia’s plain packaging regime is justified and conforms with the Australian constitution,” she says.
“The High Court case has been seen as the first real test of the legal argument that plain packaging is a justified extension of long-running regulation of tobacco products in pursuit of public health goals.”
British American Tobacco, Japan Tobacco International, Philip Morris and Imperial Tobacco had argued plain packaging was unconstitutional because it took away their intellectual property rights without compensation.
But Australia’s highest court disagreed, although the reasons behind the judgment won’t be released until later this year.
British American Tobacco New Zealand (BATNZ) says the court decision should be “cold comfort” to the New Zealand Government.
“The Australian case was based on their constitution and obviously the legal position in New Zealand is very different,” says BATNZ spokesman Nick Booth. “We’ll continue exploring all of our options to defend our valuable intellectual property.”
Mr Booth says BATNZ remains strongly opposed to the New Zealand proposal, and points out that Canada has chosen not to implement a similar measure.
“The right of companies to use their intellectual property in the form of brands is an important commercial and legal principle recognised the world over,” says Mr Booth.
“The New Zealand Government needs to reject this unproven policy and not go out on a limb with Australia.”
The New Zealand Government is currently undertaking a consultation process with a view to introducing plain packaging.
But Prime Minister John Key has said enforcing such a policy would be no “slam-dunk”.
That’s because, like Australia, New Zealand could also face legal challenges from both tobacco companies and tobacco-producing countries.
Independent of today’s court decision, Australia is fighting one such complaint to the World Trade Organisation from Ukraine, Honduras and the Dominican Republic, who claim the laws unfairly restrict trade.
Tobacco companies have also signalled they could challenge plain packaging laws under bilateral trade agreements, and the proposed new Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement.
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15/11/2012 11:29:15 p.m.
David Mac wrote:
I think this plain packaging cigarettes in Australia proves that we live in a socialist world and democracy is going down the toilet. What I am mean is that today we can travel long distances because there was no rules imposed on the Wright Brothers about safety. The freedom? of choice of individuals MUST!!! be preserved for the future coming generations. What the government consider as a victory in reality is a loss of individual freedom. Follow you hearth always, fear nothing, speak up. The days of governments controlling the masses with the use of media and propaganda are numbered. Have fun enjoy today because tomorrow is going to be fantastic learn to master your own feelings and emotion. Love to everyone on this beautiful planet.
I would also add that all the above are just observations from the prospective of my point of you and I dislike emotions such as fear, jealousy, hatred, revenge, greed, superstition, and anger. I discourage the governments and the media to encourage such emotional states on people. :) Good Luck!
16/08/2012 5:24:12 p.m.
It irritates me, too controlling and despotic for my liking. Bring on the decorative Cigarette Case and see what they do about that.
16/08/2012 10:35:53 a.m.
This will pave the way. Next will be alcohol then some foods. The thing is it will not stop any habbit, it only targets the companies property rights and loses them millions of dallars each year. That may seem good but in todays economic situation one would want to support companies not try to close them down, more job losses less taxes paid etc. Not sure what is behind all of this nonsense but it has a lot of weight? Is it just health? If so then why not reduce the price of healthy foods? Milk? vegetables? One does wonder??
15/08/2012 10:55:13 p.m.
Great news, if New Zealand follows suit then to be fair all booze should be in plain packaging, followed by medicine, cars, all foods even political parties as they all kill and maim!
15/08/2012 8:00:03 p.m.
This isn't one of my personal bad habits. This doesn't in any way change the product. Adults can still buy it if they want. So to my mind, plain packaging makes no difference.
15/08/2012 7:10:23 p.m.
Fine-but apply the same over-legislation to the worse cause of sickness and death- alcohol. Plain packaging, 10-25% yearly increases, strictly policed age limits and availability and plans to be alcohol free by 2025.... will that fly? No? Stop over legislating me within an inch of MY LIFE, and put some energy towards some of NZ's other worse, far more appalling ,statistics..
15/08/2012 4:52:50 p.m.
While a governemnt can demand plain packaging, its also not a closed case on companies demanding compensation from plain packaging damages. It could see one brand sue for lost business justifiably while other brands profited.As with any compensation claim, compensation will only be asked for after it happens.I would be very wary of introducing plain packaging here till we see what happens in Aus as it will be challenged in the courts, and it will be dragged out for years costing millions, probably hundreds of millions in legal even before a judgement is made.Personally I'm against plain packaging. not because I support smoking, but because I dont support such intervention. I think personally the tabacco companies have a case against plain packaging. It would be much better legally to ban smoking than to force plain packaging. If plain packaging is so good, how about some plain packaging politics?The plain packaging will do nothing to stop smoking. Like the disgusting graphic pictures on cigarette packs, the plain packing wont work. Smokers in the short term did get a small reduction from the graphic nature of those pictures, but it was short lived. Now smokers buy the packs and dont even see the graphic pictures, nor the 'Smoking Kills', Smoking Causes Cancer' etc messages. So this new plain packaging will have no effect on long term smoking.Better to take tax off cigarettes and replace them with a user-charge for healthcare. Calculate the cost nationally of smoking illnesses, apply it per pack. Start with a health charge equiv to the current tax, and as time passes, ramp up the user-pays for smoking health costs.Increase the smoke free zones. Children could do with a smoke free enviroment, including in their own homes. We have the adds that targeted drinking and pregnant woman, and the smokers in cars with children. Lets target society for smoking in the home with children too and maybe outright ban it.
15/08/2012 3:37:22 p.m.
The systems negated by smoking 'constitute' personal and public health, and this ruling is consistent with preservation of that. Bugger the tobacco companies. May NZ take inspiration from this ruling and please follow suit.
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