Key: Free trade won't snuff plain smokes

KATE CHAPMAN
Last updated 08:24 23/04/2012

Relevant offers

Politics

John Key optimistic TPP will pass despite collapse of talks John Key rapped over disputed claim he said Maori language month would be 'boring' New Zealand Government has 'moral obligation' to help Saudi refugee NZ won't be pushed out of TPP negotiations - Tim Groser Serious dog bites on the rise Bowron: It's time for New Zealand to stand up for itself Lotu-Iiga qualified to be in charge of prisons, because he's Polynesian - Peters John Key leaves girl in tears after calling Maori language month 'boring' NZ First MP Denis O'Rourke slams forced health insurance policy Government aims to tackle high domestic violence rates

New Zealand has not signed any free trade agreement that will stop plans to sell cigarettes in plain packaging, Prime Minister John Key says.

That's despite threats by a consortium of American organisations who issued a statement over the weekend claiming tobacco firms' logos and branding were protected by laws and international treaties.

The US Chamber of Commerce and several other organisations said the tobacco industry had "legitimate trademark protection and branding".

Associate Health Minister Tariana Turia last week announced a ban on branded packets as part of a bid to get New Zealand smokefree by 2025.

The move was aimed at preventing young people getting hooked on smoking rather than deterring existing smokers.

Key said this morning that New Zealand had not signed up to any free trade agreement that would leave the country open to a legal challenge over plain packaging of cigarettes.

"We retain sovereign rights for lots of things and if we want to have the sovereign right that says 'if you want to bring cigarettes into New Zealand they have to be plain packaging' ... I haven't seen anything yet that tells me our law would prevent us from doing that."

New Zealand was yet to sign up for the Trans Pacific Partnership agreement.

People could test their rights in court but that did not mean they were correct, Key told TVNZ's Breakfast show.

Moves by the Australian Government to introduce plain packaging from December have led to a battle in the High Court.

The American statement was also signed by the TransAtlantic Business Dialogue, the Emergency Committee for American Trade, the National Association of Manufacturers, the United States Council for International Business and the National Foreign Trade Council.

The Government here will introduce legislation once a public consultation exercise is complete.

Ad Feedback

- Stuff

Comments

Special offers
Opinion poll

Where do you stand on political coat-tail riding?

If it gets marginalised voices into Parliament, I'm for it.

I'm against it - if you don't get the votes, you shouldn't be there.

It's just part of the political game.

Vote Result

Related story: Voters reject riding on the coat-tails

Featured Promotions

Sponsored Content