Trade Minister Todd McClay and Associate Health Minister Nicki Wagner say we have been working closely with Australia in the fight for tobacco plain packaging laws and believe the World Trade Organisation (WTO) case will be important for New Zealand.
The WTO case, which is expected to be decided later this year, was launched in 2014 with New Zealand as a ‘third party’. New Zealand has presented evidence including appearing before the WTO Panel in Geneva.
“This case is about a country’s right to determine its own measures to protect public health. We have always said that the link between domestic public health rights and trade is important to our government and we are fighting hard to ensure this view is shared in the WTO,” Mr McClay says.
“The WTO has a robust set of trade rules in place to preserve our rights and I remain confident that the WTO will find in Australia’s favour on tobacco plain packaging," Mr McClay said.
New Zealand has a keen interest in proceedings because the Smoke-Free Environments Act comes into force on March the 14th 2018 and will require plain standardised tobacco packaging after this date.
Associate Health Minister Nicky Wagner says the upcoming decision is particularly important because product design and packaging are major avenues for the marketing and promotion of tobacco products.
“Smoking is our leading cause of preventable disease and the Government is committed to the goal of making New Zealand smokefree by 2025, Ms Wagner says.
“Plain packaging will reduce the appeal of tobacco products and the desirability of smoking. This move shows we are serious about stubbing out smoking and deterring new smokers, especially young people.”