Plain packaging pointless shows Australian experience

Sam Lotu Iiga is a tool, one who caved to his advisors and their wooly and wonky thinking over plain packaging.

Did he not stop to think of several obvious things. Firstly that cigarettes are NOT on display in shops. They are hidden behind cabinets and cupboards, so packaging is kind of moot anyway. Secondly, we have had plain packaging for years…in supermarkets. They are called store brands and the prices are lower because of lower packaging costs. They are exactly the same products and name brands, just in store brand packaging. So if it worked then surely supermarkets, who are the most rapacious bastards known to man would have ditched it long ago due to lack of sales.

The third reason is that there is no evidence at all that it works. Take Australia for instance…

A bill which will mean cigarettes can only be sold in bland brown or green packaging passed its final reading in Parliament this week.

The bill means mandatory health warnings will cover at least three quarters of the packet and tobacco company logos will be removed.

It’s taken three years for the legislation to pass after tobacco companies tried to sue the Australian government.

That legal battle failed last year, and even though the law was still facing challenges, such as by the World Trade Organisation, with other countries also introducing plain packing, legal action was less likely.

The legal battle did not fail. That is a lie. There was no jurisdiction in the court they filed it in. The WTO case is still ongoing.

But British American Tobacco’s New Zealand spokesman Saul Derber said plain packaging in Australia had been a failure – and it would fail here too.

“Not only is the Australian tobacco plain packaging experiment failing to meet its objectives, the policy is having serious unintended consequences,” he said.

The tobacco black market has grown by over 20 percent in Australia since the introduction of plain packs, costing the Australian government about $NZ1.5 billion in lost revenue in 2015, Mr Derber said.

He said with no graphic health warnings, no controls preventing sales to youth and no tax it was likely the introduction of plain packaging would grow the black market here as well.

“Plain packaging is an attack on companies’ intellectual property rights and undermines the principles on which international trade is founded,” he said.

Associate Health Minister Sam Lotu-Iiga said yesterday the government was confident it could win any legal action taken by tobacco companies.

“We can’t determine what will happen in the courts, but we feel like we’ve seen the evidence from overseas, we’re pretty comfortable with that, and we’re going to move forward,” Mr Lotu-liga said.

Plain cigarette packaging is expected to hit New Zealand shelves from next year.

This is the sort of stupid legislation you get when a minnow party makes unreasonable demands. We can blame the Maori party for the push, but we can blame stupid ministers for not standing up to idiots.

I hope the tobacco companies do sue, and sue hard.

The real question is who will be next in having their brands stolen from them?


– RadioNZ

  • Second time around

    Store brands work if the store is associated with good quality- there is intellectual property in a store brand. But Mr Derber is selling a product that everyone other than the company he works for acknowledges cause disease and death in a significant proportion of the people who purchase it. The company has had several decades to diversify and sell products that are safe and can be sold without restriction, but as far as I am aware, has chosen not to. It has only itself to blame if the intellectual property in its brand is now at risk. Maybe the plain packaging will not work, but it is a fairer policy than for ever increasing the taxes on tobacco.

    • Graham Pilgrim

      A comparison between plain packaged cigarettes and a plain packaged can of tomatoes is fatuous anyway The plain packaging on groceries is done in the interests of keeping prices down. The plain packaging on cigarettes is to kill the “coolness” factor of having a trendy packet sitting on the coffee table, or the Jayne Mansfield look-alike, lovingly clutching her packet of du Maurier.

      • Second time around

        A good point. It’s seldom clear who manufactures the store brand although you can guess. Conversely, you would still purchase cigarettes by brand name even if they are in plain packages.

        • AL357

          You can sometimes get a clue from the packaging such as ice cream where you have a premium brand next to a different or plain label but identify the packaging format as identical apart from plastic colour and labelling – some canned goods and butter likewise.

      • exactchange

        I expect a surge in cigarette case sales. (Buy a carton get one free?)

  • Graham Pilgrim

    Why would the black market grow as a result of plain packaging? It isn’t as if the availability of tobacco has been restricted by plain packaging.

  • oldmanNZ

    Could sales actually increase?
    No one would know if you smoking dunhill or some cheap rubbish?

    Making smoking cool again.

  • hookerphil

    As an ex smoker I never brought by the packet picture, but by name. Can remember though when, especially at night on the turps or when “giving up” that OP’s were really good, no matter what the brand.

  • Hard1

    Marijuana comes in plain packaging. Doesn’t seem to effect sales one little bit.

  • Hard1

    I think limiting the decoration on cigarettes to surreal physical deformations is some form of reverse mind control, where we come to admire and like OTHER people suffering. Now I want the Army to do the same risk graphics in it’s brochures, your new 4Runner comes with a mandatory sticker of a head through a windscreen, and humans, well, just what sort of warning would you put on peoples foreheads?

  • JEL51

    This in my mind is a huge negative to National. The Left are out to undermine any-which-way the foundations of Capitalism in their misguided belief that all is evil. We know most that advise Ministers are of that persuasion so WHY are they allowing themselves to be manipulated by them? Socks need to be pulled up and quickly.

  • Keanne Lawrence

    Plain packaging? What a crock. If they were serious it would be simply a plain coloured package with the mandatory consumer information in fine print. That’s it.
    Having it covered with artwork has no effect on anybody but it does become a conspicuous piece of trash. The next time a young person see a smoker who does not look at all like the graphics they know it advertising BS.
    It will surely grow the black-market alternative and even back in the early part of the new century shrewd Aussie buyers were getting even bigger savings by group bulk buying. Even after scoffing a pie there is still enough time to at smoko to roll the days requirements, with or without filters.
    The increasing price has reached a point where it is a valuable, ready saleable item for crims to make a fast buck after doing over the local Dairy.
    The one thing most will agree on in this piece is your definition of Sam Lotu Iiga. Lol

  • taurangaruru

    When I walk down the street & see clusters of smokers furtively sucking away on their fags I can’t help picturing the near future when we will see similar behaviour from those “sugar addicts” who will be banished to the streets & alleyways with their cans of Coke & sticky buns.

  • waldopepper

    i hate smoking and smokers, but i feel the plain packaging argument is wrong, and indeed affects a brands ability and right to market itself. if this is a product that we dont want, then lets have a referendum and ban it, if thats what the people want. if we decide to allow its sale, then you have to let the brand package its product how they wish within reason. this plain packaging nonsense feels like a health and morals campaign by stealth because the govt doesnt have the bottle to simply take a position against a deadly product and ban it. clearly they want the tax take.

    • cod

      I hate drinking alcohol and people who drink it, but I don’t want it banned.

  • Greg M

    I can see a business opportunity here. How about the tobacco companies produce branded cigarette cases, like the old days. Buy two packs of cigs and get a free reusable case. There’s one loophole, how many more will there be ?

  • Chrish4

    My Grandparents were smokers, as everyone was in those days, and they had neat little gold cigarette cases, instead of bulky, branded, cigarette packs. So faced with the current pictures of diseased bits and pieces, wouldn’t you be ditching the ugly packs and just getting a cigarette case?!

  • Big fella

    Deplorable, cigarettes are a legitimate product legally available. If Sam and his cohorts think otherwise why don’t they ban them atogether. This is a filthy act.