Tobacco companies to battle on NZ ground
Sat, 12 Nov 2011 6:25p.m.
By Brook Sabin
The biggest tobacco supplier in New Zealand is vowing to fight the Government if they introduce controversial plain cigarette packages.
3 News has obtained documents revealing the dull-green packs may be introduced here next year, and already the battle lines are being drawn.
The Australian government has this week become the first country in the world to pass a law introducing the dull-green packs but they are being sued.
And New Zealand’s biggest supplier says it will take every action necessary to stop the move here.
Tobacco companies are funding these television campaigns in Australia, furious the government there is introducing these plain cigarette packs.
They are dull green, without any manufacturer branding.
But anti-smoking lobbyists say it is nothing to do with being nanny-state. It is about profit.
ASH director Ben Youdan says you cannot advertise cigarettes on television or on sports sponsorship or in magazines
“That's been banned for a long time, so the packaging is the last billboard I suppose for smoking.”
And it is a billboard our Government could be next to stub out.
Cabinet papers obtained by 3 News under the Official Information Act show the government has agreed to "actively consider the introduction of plain packaging here in 2012”.
Professor Jane Kelsey says the big tobacco companies like Phillip Morris and British American Tobacco use every legal tool that they can get their hands on to stop tobacco control policies from coming through.
The issue could be a major headache for New Zealand officials trying to negotiate a free trade agreement with America at the APEC summit which started in Honolulu today.
That is because an agreement could give American tobacco companies the power to sue our government for changing their packaging unless a special provision is negotiated.
The largest tobacco supplier in New Zealand, British American Tobacco, would not appear on camera but released a statement saying they will take every step necessary to protect their intellectual property and stop plain packaging being introduced here.
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16/11/2011 4:00:32 p.m.
Cor moaning legal drug pushers. You don't see tinny houses complaining they can only use plain silver foil packets.
14/11/2011 11:30:38 a.m.
Different jan here. Hey tobacco companies give away free t-shirts with your brand on it. Do it now before the government bans your branding on packets. Eg I have a tui t shirt from when i worked for the company 5 years ago. every time i wear it I am advertising the beer. It will be very hard hopefully for the government to ban the t shirts, as there will be many people who would want to wear them. The teenage market over 18's would be ideal. I am anti smoking, have never smoked, my parents died from smoking related diseases, a huge amount of my family smoked, some still do, a niece took up the habit even knowing what killed her nana. The government is making money off cigerettes, even though they claim smoking costs the country with medical problems. If it is that bad, then outlaw it. They did it with cell phone use, different I know but see it can be done. I have said this before, pass legislation that anyone who is born from the year 2000 and has taken up smoking will not get medical help, they will have to take up insurance to cover themselves This is a nanny state the way the government is doing things, what ever party is in. Until smoking is banned The companies and the purchasers of the product should have a choice, of what to put on the packet and not to see the images we now have on the packets. So again British and American Tobacco and Phillip Morris try a t shirt promotion.
13/11/2011 9:58:29 p.m.
They might as well ban tobbaco from New Zealand and grow your own..
12/11/2011 11:45:01 p.m.
This is one advantage of Parliamentary supremacy; if the legislation is explicit then there is absolutely no way it can be judicially reviewed in New Zealand.
12/11/2011 8:57:11 p.m.
Bring it on. The tobacco companies will lose, but they will not go down without a hell of a fight. Let's hope the govt has the spine.
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