Overbearing, petulant, irrational and stupid

Marama Fox lost her debate against Imperial Tobacco by labelling Dr Axel Gietz as “Goebbels” when discussing plain packaging on The Nation.

When you resort to Nazi allegations you have lost the argument.

Maori Party co-leader Marama Fox has stormed out of a TV interview after accusing a tobacco company spokesman of “peddling death and destruction and misery”.

Ms Fox got into a heated discussion with Imperial Tobacco spokesman Dr Axel Gietz on TV3’s The Nation today.

Dr Gietz said if the introduction of plain packaging goes ahead as planned, it could create a tobacco black market in New Zealand.

Ms Fox became angered during the discussion and accused the tobacco spokesman of “peddling death and destruction and misery on our people”.

She also compared Dr Gietz to Nazi propaganda chief Joseph Goebbels.

Dr Gietz is in New Zealand to oppose plans to introduce plain packaging.

Marama Fox didn’t have any facts or figures and countered statistics with personal abuse and mad ranting.

He said Imperial Tobacco would leave open the possibility of a lawsuit against the New Zealand government if plain packaging is introduced, as planned.

He said it was a last resort but the company “will defend the right to use our brands”.

There is no evidence anywhere that plain packaging works. Fox cited Australia, completely ignoring the draconian taxes applied at the same time as bringing plain packaging. The illicit tobacco trade has soared and young people are going for those. The evidence in Australia is that plain packaging has now increased smoking amongst young people and Gietz cited evidence from Australia that that packaging has zero affect. I’d believe that because I know plenty of smokers who don’t care that the packet has graphic images of disease on them. Those only shock non-smokers.

After a long debate, a frustrated Ms Fox eventually got up and walked off set, telling Dr Gietz: “I’m not going to listen to you. I think you should crawl back into the hole that is reserved for corporate executioners.”

Dr Gietz didn’t react or rise to Ms Fox’s inflammatory comments.

As she made her departing remarks, The Nation host Lisa Owen pleaded for civility, reminding her that Dr Gietz was an invited guest.

The host thanked both guests for joining the show and Dr Gietz replied: “Thank you for having me anyway”.

Marama Fox forgets that tobacco is a legal product, and that legal product nets millions in taxes each year that are used to pay for the health care of smokers….and then some. We need to employ evidence-based solution not mad ranting and emotive arguments.

Ultimately, smoking is now a matter of personal choice. Only the truly stupid amongst us don’t know that tobacco is addictive and dangerous. The problem is people like Marama Fox who want to dictate our every bit of life.

As a warning to other industries she alluded to wanting plain packaging on foods and will push hard for a sugar tax, again despite any evidence anywhere of it working.

Your arguments fail, though, when you resort to personal abuse and Marama Fox lost that spectacularly.


–  NZ Herald

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