Press Release – Green Party

24 July, 2012 John Key Needs To Get A Backbone John Key needs to put the health of New Zealanders ahead of the interests of tobacco giants. John Key yesterday said a proposal to require plain packaging of cigarettes and tobacco was not a “slam …24 July, 2012

John Key Needs To Get A Backbone

John Key needs to put the health of New Zealanders ahead of the interests of tobacco giants.

John Key yesterday said a proposal to require plain packaging of cigarettes and tobacco was not a “slam dunk” because of the risk of legal action by tobacco companies and producing countries.

“Australian Prime Minister Julia Gillard is putting the public health of her citizens first, John Key needs to get a backbone and do the same,” said Green Party health spokesperson Kevin Hague.

Julia Gillard has said: We’re not going to be intimidated by big tobacco’s tactics, whether they’re political tactics, whether they’re public affairs kind of tactics out in the community or whether they’re legal tactics.”

“What’s John Key’s response in the face of similar pressure? To waver He has given tobacco giants the motivation to step up their efforts.

“Plain packaging would stop tobacco companies getting around the law to stop them advertising. Their product kills – why do we allow them a platform to suck in New Zealanders?”

The Green Party is also concerned about the impact the investor-state dispute procedure proposed in the Trans Pacific Partnership (TPP) would have on New Zealand’s ability to protect the health of its citizens. Australia has reportedly resisted the procedure being included.

“Big tobacco can already use trade rules against New Zealand but it would be much easier for them to win under the TPP,” Mr Hague said.

“The National Government needs to protect the health of its citizens and should not do anything to undermine its ability to pass laws that do that.”

For more information: Julia Gillard on legal threats: http://www.smh.com.au/national/gillard-stands-firm-on-plain-tobacco-packaging-20110627-1gmgc.html#ixzz21UDnU5iy John Key on legal threats: http://www.nzherald.co.nz/nz/news/article.cfm?c_id=1&objectid=10821706

ENDS

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