Farmer's Voice

Maori Party in New Zeland, Calls On Lawmakers To Pass PP Law

After a Permanent Court of Arbitration tribunal in Singapore rejected Philip Morris Asia Limited's lawsuit challenging Australia's plain packaging (PP) legislation, the Maori Party in New Zealand called on lawmakers to pass theSmoke-Free Environments (Tobacco Plain Packaging) Amendment Billwhen Parliament reconvenes in February 2016. The measure already passed the first reading but the government put it on hold until the outcome of Philip Morris Asia Limited's lawsuit against Australia's PP legislation. Maori Party co-leader Marama Fox said Parliament has been "sitting on its hands," adding that she hopes that bill will be passed next year now hat Philip Morris has lost the case. Te Ururoa Flavell, another co-leader of the party, said if the government wants to achieve its goal of becoming a smokefree country by 2025, "we need to show some courage" (NZ Newswire 12/22).

Health groups in New Zealand are also pushing the government to introduce plain packaging for tobacco products, with Action on Smoking and Health NZ Director Stephanie Erick saying that the Permanent Court of Arbitration's rejection of Philip Morris Asia Limited's attempt to challenge Australia's plain packaging legislation "can give NZ greater confidence to pass Standardised (Plain) Packaging for immediate implementation." A recent survey found a very slow decline in overall smoking rates and high smoking prevalence among Maori, Pacific and young adults. Emeritus Professor Robert Beaglehole said the government must "urgently" finalize the plain packaging legislation, as part of efforts to achieve its goal of becoming a smokefree country by 2025 (Scoop 12/21).