WTO decision key to NZ tobacco stance
Thu, 16 Aug 2012 7:44a.m.
By Alex Bourne
Our Government will wait to see how the World Trade Organisation will respond to Australia's move to force plain packaging of cigarettes before it decides if it will follow suit.
From the first of December, all tobacco products and cigarettes in Australia will be sold in packaging without branding or logos.
“The next generation of young people in Australia will not be exposed to glossy, seductive tobacco packaging,” says Kylie Lindorff of Cancer Council Australia.
Two thousand Kiwis under 10 try smoking each year
Australia's highest court has endorsed a ban on all brand marketing and promotional logos on tobacco packaging, clearing the way for the government to make it law.
“The industry have put all their resources in the packaging itself when all over avenues of advertising have been shut down, they know this has an impact, so this is a great outcome for public health,” says Ms Lindorff.
Tobacco companies claimed that introducing plain packaging would be unconstitutional but the High Court disagreed, giving the green light for plain packaging, and also ordering the companies to pay the Australian government's legal bills.
But tobacco companies aren't giving up yet. They will take their case to the World Trade Organisation to challenge plain packaging.
And if the WTO finds against Australia it may have to pay billions in compensation.
“It's time for the tobacco companies to get on with implementation and stop trying to challenge this measure further in our international courts,” says attorney-general Nicol Roxon.
Australia has set a precedent and our trade minister says he's backing the country's move.
“We back them 100 percent because of the issue, it’s an outrageous thing for these companies to be using the WTO as a back door attack on Australia,” says Trade Minister Tim Groser.
But Mr Groser admits he'll be keeping a keen eye on the WTO case, the outcome of which will heavily influence our Government's position.
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19/08/2012 2:11:22 a.m.
Its more appropriates for the plain packinging in respect to the old folks in the wartime..Its the people that must learn to restpect themselves restpect the law and regulations and enjoy the tobbaco without injuring their health..Alcohol kills when over the limit where tobbaco take its tolls.. rethink..
16/08/2012 4:21:27 p.m.
With packaging locked away behind closed cabinets in every retailer in New Zealand now.
Whats the point of changing the packaging exactly?.
Waste of time legislation... people arent buying cigarettes anymore because of the pretty packaging as it can no longer been seen.
16/08/2012 12:42:34 p.m.
The Ozzie Govt. will have egg on their face when the TPP treaty kicks in and they will LET the Tobacco Cartel do as they please OR pay HUGE Fines until they do. LOL wait and see.
16/08/2012 10:37:05 a.m.
Pro choice Non-smoker wrote:
Hang on a God Dang minute, Mate! [And while ya at it through another shrimp on the barbie..]
So, let me get this straight: Tobacco is LEGAL. It is legal to buy, legal to sell, legal to grow and legal to use. Surely if the product is legal denying the manufactures the right to put their brand on their product is illegal?
From the eco-social point of view not only is it anti-commercial and anti-trade but a breach of their democratic right to trade?!
Either make it illegal or don't. Decide. Stop treating people like criminals when they are not.. oh wait... you started out as a prison island - I forgot.
16/08/2012 10:19:07 a.m.
As the tobacco complainies go about their filthy rotten business (including challenging tighter regulations), they are relying on systems their own products negate.
So it's inconsistent to use an economic argument in this way when the systems negated by consumption are themselves factors of production.
16/08/2012 10:11:14 a.m.
like this govt, will take any notice, ..yeah right'
16/08/2012 10:06:02 a.m.
Wow they are really edging their bets here. Oz could be digging themselves into a very deep hole! Bet there are a few promises and maybe back handers going on with that sort of money involved. One would think that if a product can be legally sold then surly you have equal rights to place your name on the package?? Hey maybe we should do this for Alcohol, plain labels? What about fast foods, stop them advertising to help with obesity??
16/08/2012 9:55:00 a.m.
NZ should make up it's own mind and not bother abpout the WTO. Australia strikes out boldly, we can too.
16/08/2012 9:44:43 a.m.
Plain packaging will not work but it will the makers sit up and think.
It won't stop smokers because they smoke what ever when the need hits them.
I was a smoker during my teen years and gave up and never smoked again but I do remember that need.
The government are playing, pussy footing around making out they are doing something but really very little to stop smokers only the makers will sit up and think again on how to overcome people not using their brands.
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