Despite no evidence to support it, government planning on plain packaging

There is zero evidence of the effectiveness of plain packaging, indeed in Australia which introduced plain packaging for tobacco consumption went up.

That doesn’t seem to be stopping idiot National ministers from rolling ahead with plain packaging.

The Government is to press ahead with plain-packaging for tobacco – with more detail on how such a regime might work to be revealed tomorrow.

Prime Minister John Key this afternoon said the Maori Party-devised plain-packaging regime had not been signed off by Cabinet, but the advice he was receiving was that “we should be able to proceed with that, without the legal risks that had slowed us up”.

“I’m not sure how far away it is, but it’s getting much closer and we are keen to progress it.”

New Zealand had been keeping an eye on the outcome of legal challenges against Australia’s plain-packaging, one from tobacco firm Philip Morris and another from tobacco-producing countries via the World Trade Organisation (WTO).

Associate Health Minister Peseta Sam Lotu-Iiga will attend a smokefree event in Wellington tomorrow.

The Herald understands he will unveil detail on draft regulations for a future plain-packaging regime, such as what cigarette packages would look like.

Australia won the case against Philip Morris in December.

Australia did not win the case against Philip Morris in December. It was an arcane decision in one jurisdiction, Hong Kong, as part of a single free trade agreement and had nothing whatsoever to do with the WTO challenge by Indonesia and other tobacco producing nations.

Philip Morris Asia Limited launched its challenge against the Australian government in 2011, seeking to rely on an argument that the ban on trademarks breached foreign investment provisions of Australia’s 1993 Investment Promotion and Protection Agreement with Hong Kong.

But the arbitral tribunal has declined jurisdiction to hear the case, the company said in a statement issued on Friday.

Australia didn’t win the case at all, there was no jurisdiction so the case was never heard.

This policy is just the Maori party flea wagging the National party dog’s tail. With tax increases on tobacco products but not on booze, which arguably causes far more harm, and now plain packaing the government is looking increasingly like a nanny state.

The real problem now will be the calls for plain packaging in many other products, because where tobacco goes so do everything else. We are already seeing calls for taxes on Sugar, we will now see calls for plain packing on other “harmful” products and the justification will be the same as for taxes…it works for tobacco…so why not.

Only a foolish government lets the slippery slope enter public policy.


– NZ Herald, The Guardian

Do you want:

  • ad-free access?
  • access to our very popular daily crossword?
  • access to Incite Politics magazine articles?

Silver subscriptions and above go in the draw to win a $500 prize to be drawn at the end of March.

Not yet one of our awesome subscribers? Click Here and join us.

As much at home writing editorials as being the subject of them, Cam has won awards, including the Canon Media Award for his work on the Len Brown/Bevan Chuang story.  And when he’s not creating the news, he tends to be in it, with protagonists using the courts, media and social media to deliver financial as well as death threats.

They say that news is something that someone, somewhere, wants kept quiet.   Cam Slater doesn’t do quiet, and as a result he is a polarising, controversial but highly effective journalist that takes no prisoners.

He is fearless in his pursuit of a story.

Love him or loathe him.  But you can’t ignore him.