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


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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. 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 who takes no prisoners.

He is fearless in his pursuit of a story.

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

To read Cam’s previous articles click on his name in blue.

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