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

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