23 Feb 2013

Plain packaging a step too far for some parties

9:02 pm on 23 February 2013

Plain packaging for cigarettes is a step too far for two parties in Parliament, which say it infringes on the rights of tobacco companies and smokers.

The Government will introduce legislation by the end of this year, starting the formal process to remove company branding from cigarette and tobacco products.

Whether the changes are put in place will depend on the outcome of a challenge at the World Trade Organisation to a change to plain packaging in Australia.

ACT says plain packaging intrudes on the rights of companies to market and sell their products.

New Zealand First says the Government is poking its nose into people's private affairs.

Labour and the Greens support plain packaging, with the Greens saying the changes should be put in place now.

Associate Minister of Health Tariana Turia says she is confident cases against plain packaging in Australia won't win and the New Zealand Government will go ahead with legislation to ban branding on cigarette packets.

Mrs Turia says the Government is aligning its legislation on plain packaging with Australia's.

She believes the Australian federal government will win legal cases brought against it and as soon as that happens, legislation will move forward in New Zealand.