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Government decision on plain packaging disappointing

Government decision on plain packaging disappointing

Imperial Tobacco New Zealand is disappointed with the Government's decision on plain packaging.

"It's disappointing that Government has chosen this path when there is no evidence that it will work,” said the company's head of commercial, Brendan Walker.

“The Government has already introduced other initiatives, including increased excise taxes and a ban on retail displays, none of which have been thoroughly evaluated yet.”

He said that the Government is throwing another untried and untested measure into the mix without any rationale or evidence.

Imperial Tobacco is surprised at the Government’s decision considering the majority of people who submitted to the public consultation opposed the measure.

“Over 12,600 submissions out of 20,000 received opposed plain packaging. That's a sizeable proportion who indicated quite clearly that they do not agree with plain packaging. We believe Government should act based on what the submissions tell them, otherwise why go through a so-called consultation process?”

He said despite the decision, Imperial Tobacco understands the Government’s wish to know the outcome of Australia’s legal cases before introducing legislation here.

“Plain packaging breaches international trade agreements that affect New Zealand and the Government has acknowledged that there is a risk that New Zealand could be exposed to WTO action.”

Imperial Tobacco wants to work closely with Government to counter the unintended consequences that will inevitably arise from this intervention.

“Experience from other markets tells us that these measures facilitate and encourage the black market and a rise in illegal trade in tobacco. Plain packaging will accelerate this trend and that's not good for anyone at all.”

- ENDS –

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