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

 

National kicks for touch on plain packaging

19 February 2013

For immediate release

National kicks for touch on plain packaging

‘National’s ploy to introduce the law on plain packaging of tobacco products at the end of this year, but not pass it until all the cases pending against Australia’s law are concluded, will push it well into the next parliamentary term', says Professor Jane Kelsey from the University of Auckland, who wrote an expert report on these issues in 2012.

‘By that time National will hope that no longer has to rely on the Maori Party for support and will be free to abandon the law if it wants to.’

‘Big Tobacco is notorious for using these agreements to chill government’s decisions’, Professor Kelsey said.

Philip Morris’s submission on the consultation document on plain packaging warned that New Zealand would breach the World Trade Organization’s rules on technical barriers to trade and intellectual property.

British American Tobacco NZ went further. It claimed the legislation would breach (unnamed) investment treaties, ‘entitling the companies to an arbitral award requiring New Zealand to repeal the legislation and/or pay substantial sums in compensation’.

Companies within the BATNZ group would take ‘all necessary steps’ to protect their investment under New Zealand’s investment treaties.


‘It is clear that these threats have done their job’, Professor Kelsey observed.
‘National was already reluctant to follow the lead of the Australian government, which has thumbed its nose at the industry threats and vowed to fight their cases and win.’

Australia is currently facing two disputes under international trade and investment treaties.

One in the World Trade Organisation brought by Ukraine, Honduras and the Dominic Republic and bankrolled by the tobacco industry. New Zealand has joined as a third party.

A dispute panel to hear the Ukraine case was established in September last year but no date has been publicly notified for the hearing. No panels have been constituted for the other two disputes yet. The WTO panel and appeals process can be expected to take two more years.

The second dispute brought by Philip Morris Asia against Australia under the Australia Hong Kong bilateral investment treaty is underway in Singapore. Its first procedural hearing was in July 2012.

A procedural order released in January 2013 confirmed the hearings will be closed to the public, although documents filed in the case may be released by the party that filed them, subject to requests by the other party for redactions to protect confidentiality. This process could take three, five or more years and cost many millions of dollars.

‘By that time, if the National government has its way, the Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement will be in effect and the tobacco companies will have a whole new legal canvass on which to play’, Professor Kelsey warned.

‘In a nutshell, if this is allowed to happen we can kiss goodbye to sensible public health policies - tobacco companies will rule the day’.

ENDS

© Scoop Media

 
 
 
Parliament Headlines | Politics Headlines | Regional Headlines

Gordon Campbell: On Why Raising Corporate Taxes Has Become A Hot New Political Cause

Surprisingly, “raising taxes” has become a very fashionable political idea in 2021. That’s right. After decades of being seen (at best) as a necessary evil, higher corporate taxes are now being treated as the Great Good Thing that will revive the US economy, re-distribute wealth productively, help to build neglected and decaying public infrastructure, fund public health, address social inequality, restore a sense of community and generally make everyone feel better about the society in which they live... More>>

 

Government: Delivers Next Phase Of Climate Action

The Government is delivering on a key election commitment to tackle climate change, by banning new low and medium temperature coal-fired boilers and partnering with the private sector to help it transition away from fossil fuels. This is the first ... More>>

Government: Independent Experts To Advise On Post-Vaccination Future

The Government is acting to ensure decisions on responding to the next phase of the COVID-19 pandemic are informed by the best available scientific evidence and strategic public health advice. “New Zealand has worked towards an elimination ... More>>

Travel: Trans-Tasman Bubble To Start 19 April

New Zealand’s successful management of COVID means quarantine-free travel between New Zealand and Australia will start on Monday 19 April, Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern announced today. Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern and COVID-19 Response Minister Chris ... More>>

ALSO:


Health: Drug-Testing Law To Be Made Permanent

Interim legislation that is already proving to keep people safer from drugs will be made permanent, Health Minister Andrew Little says. More>>

World Travel: New Zealand Temporarily Suspending Travel From India - PM Jacinda Ardern

Travel into New Zealand from India - including for New Zealand citizens and residents - is being temporarily suspended because of high numbers of Covid-19 cases. More>>

Finance: Crown Accounts Again Better Than Forecast

Hon Grant Robertson Minister of Finance The economic recovery from COVID-19 continues to be reflected in the Government’s books, which are again better than expected. The Crown accounts for the eight months to the end of February 2021 showed both OBEGAL ... More>>

 
 
 
 
 
 

LATEST HEADLINES

  • PARLIAMENT
  • POLITICS
  • REGIONAL
 
 

InfoPages News Channels