I watched the final reading of the ‘tobacco standard packaging’ bill yesterday on NZ parliament TV. This bill will now become law, once it ‘receives the Royal ascent’ (signed by Gov. general; Queen’s NZ Rep.) before end of 2016. This law follows similar law reform in Australia & other countries, designed to remove advertising & product logos from the cigarette packets & cover them only, with graphic pictures of ‘the harmful effects‘. This is apparently another stage in Aotearoa/NZ becoming ‘Smoke-free by 2025’ !
The bill was voted into law by the majority of the parliament, except the NZ-first (centrist) & NZ ACT (right-wing) parties. During the debate their spokespeople talked about ‘removing people’s freedom of choice‘ & potentially enacting a prohibition on tobacco, if the country does in-fact achieve, the stated intention of becoming smoke-free. There have been news reports already of people robbing shops & petrol stations.. with tobacco products as the main target. A black-market is apparently already springing up.
It was interesting to hear that this bill has been stalled several times, by the current Govt. majority party.. which claims to represent business people. BUT the suggestion was that, two of their current MPs were previously tobacco industry employees (& lobbyists) ?
The other thing that has also occurred; increasing taxes being levied, year-on-year.. supposedly to increase the price & dissuade young people from taking up the habit & persuade current smokers to give up. BUT there are other allegations that it’s really to maintain the current tax take, as the numbers of smokers decrease ?!
Of course the other suggestion is that it’s just another excuse to further stall any moves to reform the cannabis laws.. with comments from Govt. & members of the public that SMOKING cannabis is MORE harmful than tobacco. BUT the evidence does not back this up; 5000+ deaths per year from tobacco smoking in NZ, BUT there is still no stats. on people dying as a direct result of cannabis smoking. Of course the other issue being: you can ingest both tobacco & cannabis by ‘Vaping’ (vapourising it.. not smoking)
btw; I do not smoke tobacco.. BUT as I’ve said before; I do support FREEDOM of choice (Adults) as opposed to any further moves at prohibition