Taxpayers on Hook for Anti-Tobacco Measure That Hasn't Worked
6 August 2014
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
The Taxpayers’ Union is slamming the Health Select Committee’s decision to recommend the Smoke-free Environments (Tobacco Plain Packaging) Amendment Bill be implemented, despite tobacco sales in Australiaincreasing since it implemented similar measures. The Committee’s report was publicly released yesterday and is available here.
Jordan Williams, Executive Director of the Taxpayers’ Union, says:
“After six months of hearings, despite all the controversy in Australia, MPs look set to invite a international trade claim that will cost taxpayers tens of millions of dollars, for something that doesn’t even work to reduce smoking."
The increase in tobacco sales in Australia since the introduction of plain packing has been awkward for those backing plain packaging measures, and has receivedconsiderable media coverage in Australia.
“While front page stories run in Australia about the failure of plain packaging, all New Zealand MPs can come up with is a four page report that doesn’t address the considerable evidence on the key question – does plain packaging reduce smoking?"
“This is an emotional, not evidence based decision. It’s a sop to taxpayer funded lobby groups that have advocated for these measures, and invites retaliation against our wine exporters."
“John Key was right when he said that New Zealand should wait for Australia's WTO case to run its course before New Zealand sticks its head out and breaches trade rules. It appears the Government has had a change of heart, and is choosing to do be seen to be doing something to curb smoking, while ignoring the inconvenient truth."
"The Australian examples suggests that plain packaging will cost taxpayers tens of millions and actually lead to an increase in tobacco consumption."