The New Zealand Government has decided to bring in legislation to put tobacco products into plain packaging. This comes just a year after Australia made similar changes.
In April last year the Government had agreed ‘in principle’ to introduce a plain packaging regime in alignment with Australia pending the outcome of a public consultation process. The public consultation closed on 5 October 2012 and Cabinet considered a report on the consultation outcomes on Monday.
Plain packaging for tobacco will mean cigarette packs and tobacco pouches will have much larger pictorial health warnings and be stripped of the marketing imagery tobacco companies use to promote their products. The colours and design of the packs will be standardised in regulations designed to maximise the impact of the health warnings. Tobacco brand names will have to be printed in standard type fonts and sizes.
Associate Minister for Health Tariana Turia “There is a risk that tobacco companies will try and mount legal challenges against any legislation, as we have seen in Australia
“In making this decision, the Government acknowledges that it will need to manage some legal risks. As we have seen in Australia, there is a possibility of legal proceedings.”
“To manage this, Cabinet has decided that the Government will wait and see what happens with Australia’s legal cases, making it a possibility that if necessary, enactment of New Zealand legislation and/or regulations could be delayed pending those outcomes.”