Gordon Campbell | Parliament TV | Parliament Today | News Video | Crime | Employers | Housing | Immigration | Legal | Local Govt. | Maori | Welfare | Unions | Youth | Search


Plain packaging of tobacco products a step too far

media release

19 April 2012

For Immediate Release

Government announcement on plain packaging of tobacco products a step too far “British American Tobacco New Zealand (BATNZ) opposes the plain packaging of tobacco products and will take every action necessary to protect its intellectual property rights as would any other business faced with the removal of their brands,” said BATNZ’s Head of Corporate and Regulatory Affairs, Susan Jones.

“Packaging is an important element of any company’s intellectual property. A government prohibition on a company’s right to use their own intellectual property constitutes property removal and sets a disturbing precedent for businesses throughout New Zealand.

“If government is prepared to do this today, are the next logical steps to force alcohol, fast food, salty or sugary products into plain packs as well?” said Ms Jones.

This policy has a number of serious implications which need robust consideration.

International trade agreements founded on the principles of the protection of property rights may well be compromised and this policy announcement by Government is less than reassuring to foreign investors and brand owners. The Australian Government is already the subject of a World Trade Organisation challenge and constitutional legal challenges in the Australian High Court as a result of their plain pack legislation.

Plain packaging is a policy with serious unintended consequences –

•The plainer the pack the simpler it is to counterfeit. Illegal tobacco costs taxpayers billions – but makes criminals rich. Criminals currently have to go to some trouble to manufacture colours and designs on packs to trick customers into thinking they are getting the real thing – plain packaging effectively gives criminals a hand up with more ill gained profits.

•The black market significantly undercuts legitimate retailers and doesn’t ask for proof of age so a move designed to discourage youth from smoking could end up having the exact opposite effect.

•Perversely, smoking rates will increase as many more young people take it up after gaining greater access to cheap illegal cigarettes. Legal cigarettes may also become cheaper as prices are forced down through increased competition in the industry due to the removal of branding. BATNZ believes the consultation process announced will be extremely important given the serious unintended consequences of this proposal and the precedent it sets for other trademark owners.


© Scoop Media

Parliament Headlines | Politics Headlines | Regional Headlines

Gordon Campbell: On The Epic Fails Of Kris Faafoi

Ever since Winston Peters first breathed life into this government in 2018, its own branding has been all about social justice and how we all need to be “kind” to each other. Somehow, Kris Faafoi must have missed the memo. His performance in the immigration portfolio (in particular) has neither been kind nor just, especially to the migrants whose skills New Zealand will need to get us through Covid, and grow the economy into the future... More>>

Covid-19 & Government: Government Green Lights Rapid Antigen Testing

Some of the country’s largest businesses have put in an order for 300,000 approved rapid antigen tests for their workforce, after working at pace with the Government on a new scheme unveiled by Associate Minister of Health and Research, Science and Innovation Ayesha Verrall... More>>



Government: Opportunity To Shape NZ’s First Emissions Reduction Plan
The Government is inviting New Zealanders to inform the country’s first Emissions Reduction Plan with the release of a consultation document containing a range of policy ideas to decrease the country’s emissions, Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern and Climate Change Minister James Shaw announced today... More>>


Government: Books Show Resilient And Strong Economy
The end of year audited Crown accounts released today show the Government’s health led approach to the COVID-19 pandemic has protected New Zealand’s economy. “On almost every indicator the accounts show that the New Zealand economy has performed better than forecast... More>>

Healthcare: Health System Is Ready For Assisted-dying Law
The health system is ready for the implementation of the End of Life Choice Act when it takes effect next month, making assisted dying legal in New Zealand, Health Minister Andrew Little said today... More>>


Government: Mandatory Vaccination For Two Workforces

Large parts of two workforces critical to preventing the spread of COVID-19 will be required to be vaccinated, COVID-19 Response Minister Chris Hipkins said today. “Our education and health and disability workforces have done an incredible job throughout this pandemic to keep themselves and people safe,” Chris Hipkins said.... More>>

Green Party: Deeply Concerned Space Launches May Be Breaching Nuclear-free Laws

The Green Party is deeply concerned that space launches by Rocket Lab may be breaching nuclear-free laws, given our long-standing position as a signatory of the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty... More>>

Children's Commissioner: Call For Mandatory Vaccination Of Children’s Workforce
The Children’s Commissioner and Assistant Māori Commissioner are calling for a plan for the mandatory vaccination of teachers and the entire children’s workforce in New Zealand... More>>




InfoPages News Channels