April 13, 2018
Chain dragging on tobacco law
A new study has found threats of lawsuits by the tobacco industry helped delay the New Zealand legislation for plain tobacco packs by at least three years.
The study by Dr Eric Crosbie of the University of California, San Francisco, and Associate Professor George Thomson from the University of Otago, Wellington published in the New Zealand Medical Journal today found there was a strong division among political parties.
National and New Zealand First MPs appeared to put the legal threats foremost in their arguments, while MPs from Labour, Greens and the Maori Party emphasised New Zealand’s right to pass the law.
The 53 month timeframe for the completion of the New Zealand law was much longer than other countries which introduced plain-pack legislation, such as Australia which did it in 18 months and France which did it in 20.
It then took a further 18 months for the law to come into force in March this year.
The research found legal experts were correctly predicting from 2011 or earlier, the tobacco industry would not win any of its lawsuits against plain pack laws, and New Zealand officials were stating from 2014 or before that the proposed legislation was in line with New Zealand’s trade obligations.
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