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Tobacco Companies In The Dock?

The Government is considering changing the law to so that it can successfully sue United States tobacco companies

The Prime Minister, Health Minister and the Attorney General met with the anti-smoking group ASH and Crown Counsel on Wednesday evening, to discuss a strategy for legal action against tobacco companies.

Their aim was to make tobacco companies pay for the medical costs of smoking-related illnesses.

Helen Clark says a lot of work needs to be done before a decision is made on whether or not to assist with a law suit.

She says she realises that succeeding with legislation against the tobacco companies will be no simple task.

Tobacco companies, with their billion dollar incomes, have a history of playing legal hardball against public bodies attempting to make them pay for the health damage of their products.

Meanwhile several legal experts have opined that legal action against companies could prove a long and costly battle for the Government, which in the end could fail.

The Government may have to introduce legislation in Parliament to make changes to the statute of limitations, before it could successfully sue the companies under New Zealand law.


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