Govt to roll out plain packaging on cigarettes
Nearly a week after hitting smokers in the pocket with increased taxes, the Government will roll out a second hit tomorrow, this time aimed at tobacco companies.
Plain packaging has been sitting on Cabinet's to-do list for more than two years, and now the Government has finally decided it's time to progress with it.
Tomorrow details will be unveiled on the controversial plan, which will eventually see all branding, logos and other detail removed from cigarette products.
The move was initiated by former Associate Health Minister Dame Tariana Turia more than five years ago, but it stalled when big tobacco started taking other governments to court.
Legal action failed in Australia last year, and Prime Minister John Key says that has allowed New Zealand to press ahead.
"What's happened is the world's moved on and there have been a number of countries that have moved toward plain packaging. The advice I've been getting is that it's safe to proceed.
"We're far less concerned now about the legal risks we faced," says Mr Key.
Dame Tariana is "very happy" with the development and says it will hurt tobacco companies and discourage smoking.
Newshub has contacted British American Tobacco for a response, but the company is yet to reply.
Tomorrow's announcement will coincide with World Smokefree Day.