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Monday, April 23

Govt should stand up to tobacco lobby over plain packaging

The Green Party is supporting Government moves to introduce plain packaging of cigarettes, but says it needs to stand up to legal attacks from the tobacco lobby. "The plain packaging of cigarettes is good for New Zealanders health and we support it," said Green Party Co-leader Metiria Turei.

 "There is clear evidence that the plain packaging of cigarettes will help to reduce smoking addiction. "Reducing smoking addition is especially important for Maori and Pacifika communities where there is a high incidence of smoking related health issues and deaths.

 "The Government must stand up to the threats from the tobacco lobby and act in the health interests of New Zealanders. "The tobacco lobby shouldn't be able to write the laws of New Zealand through their legal threats. "The Government needs to make sure we don't sign away our ability to regulate the smoking industry via our trade agreements. 

"The Trans Pacific free trade agreement currently being negotiated does include investor state rules which would give the tobacco companies the right to sue the Government for losses. 

"We shouldn't sign up to any trade agreement that means we have to make big compensation payments to tobacco companies for acting in the health interests of Kiwis. "If the Government is serious about reducing tobacco harm it also needs to make sure that our trade policy supports that goal," said Mrs Turei.