WTO support of cigarette plain packaging a win for NZ – Marama Fox

By Mānia Clarke-Mamanu

The Māori Party is applauding reports that the World Trade Organization is backing Australia's stance on tobacco plain packaging laws as a health measure.  Co-leader Marama Fox says it supports Aotearoa's plain packaging law which was spearheaded by the Māori Party.

Fox says support by the WTO on Australia's plain packaging laws, is a win for New Zealand's smoke-free campaign.

“We are on track to our goal of being a smoke-free country by 2025. By that time we want only 5% of the country smoking cigarettes. We want to grow a generation of non-smokers who have no qualms for the bad habit.”

Australia's Bloomberg News reported that the WTO panel has upheld the Australian's government's right to impose tobacco plain packaging laws as a legitimate public health measure.

“We must put in place a plan to achieve those goals. Firstly let's ban smoking in cars if a child is in the vehicle. Secondly, let's increase the budget to help those wanting to quit smoking. Thirdly, let's go into the schools and educate the children on how to live healthy lifestyles.”

Last year legislation was passed in New Zealand for plain packaging on tobacco products, which was championed by former Māori Party co-leader Tariana Turia.

“We must observe those who are still smoking.  The majority of smokers in this country are Māori women.  Some are young pregnant women, caring for children whilst they're still young.”

The official ruling by WTO is expected to be released in July.