The plain packaging decision

February 19th, 2013 at 2:13 pm by David Farrar

For some reason the Government has been unable to e-mail out the official statements, so this is based on listening to the press conference. But the decision appears to be:

  1. New Zealand will follow Australia and legislate to allow for mandatory of products
  2. The regulations to implement the law will not be activated until the conclusion of the WTO cases a number of countries have filed against Australia for its decision

 The second part of the decision is sensible. Implementing it prior to the WTO cases being concluded would just open New Zealand up to possible trade sanctions. As a country that has benefited from WTO decisions in our favour (such as apple exports to Australia), it is important we obey the rules we agree to.

In terms of the main decision to implement plain packaging, if legal, my views are:

  1. It is desirable and appropriate for the Government to take measures to reduce smoking rates, considering the cost to the health system of smoking, and the devastation to families by early premature deaths. Various policies have lowered the smoking rate massively over recent times.
  2. Tobacco is a dangerous addictive product that kills even if taken as intended. It is fundamentally different to say alcohol which is fine in moderation. Also in my experience the vast majority of tobacco users are addicted and desperately want to give up and regret they started. By contrast the vast majority of drinkers have no desire to give up alcohol, rightfully so.
  3. I do not like the precedent of the Government confiscating intellectual property such as brands from private businesses. Tobacco companies may not be popular, but they sell a legal regulated product. My concern is that various groups will use this decision to advocate plain packaging and confiscation of brands and intellectual property for other companies such as alcohol and “fast” foods and “fizzy” drinks. Make no mistake that this is on their agenda.
  4. Taking the competing beliefs of (1), (2) and (3), I would support plain packaging if it stops young people taking up smoking. Tobacco is different to other products and I believe the gains from fewer young people smoking outweighs the damage caused by the precedent of intellectual property confiscation.
  5. However there is no evidence that plain packaging will reduce the uptake rates of smoking, or the overall smoking rates. The so called evidence is laughable – basically a few surveys of teenagers asking them if they find plain packs less attractive than branded packs. Of course they say yes. That is very different from whether the pack design would affect their decision to take up smoking or keep smoking.
  6. My preference, as previously stated, was to trial plain packaging in one area of New Zealand, and compare to change in smoking rates to the control group in the other area. This would allow its effectiveness to be measured without being contaminated by other policies or initiatives such as increases in tobacco taxes. If it was shown to be effective, then  it would be rolled out to all of NZ and made permanent.

A science-based approach is far preferable to making a decision based on hope.

However the decision has been made, and will be implemented so long as legal under WTO rules we have agreed to. What my hope is that the Government will still at least try and monitor its effectiveness and see if it impacts smoking rates by trying to isolate the impact of plain packaging from other changes such as excise tax increases, or advertising campaigns.

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60 Responses to “The plain packaging decision”

  1. Ed Snack (1,872 comments) says:

    About time, David, that you recognized the bullshit in the cost argument. Smokers contribute more in strictly economic terms than they cost the health system. There is no doubt a human cost from premature deaths, but the taxes levied on cigarettes (primarily, but tobacco generally) plus the reduced superannuation costs outweigh the $ costs imposed.

    Once smoking is outlawed (and I have no doubt that that is the aim of all these programs and campaigns), then there will be a serious hole in government funding to fill; one that will no doubt be covered over by taxing the next “sin du jour”, probably alcohol.

    Interesting too that you go with the “desperate to give up but can’t” victimized approach. There’s an easy way to stop, simply stop smoking, but first, you have to WANT to stop.

    I see this decision as one in the grand mode of government action, that it is far more important to be seen to be doing something (if only to keep the bloody noisy activists harping on) than to attempt to achieve something useful.

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  2. Colville (2,268 comments) says:

    I do not like the precedent of the Government confiscating intellectual property such as brands from private businesses.

    How is it confiscation? Govt is just banning a form of advertising. They are stealing anything.

    Plain packs cant hurt. No one is going to say shit yeah I am gonna smoke that because its in a white pack!

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  3. Andrei (2,652 comments) says:

    Another day and another nanny state initiative from our nanny state government – how you can call yourself or your Government ” center right” Mr Farrar would be a mystery if it wasn’t for the fact like all leftists you twist and distort the meaning of words to advance the vile socialist agenda.

    And in this case of course the real agenda are to use the tools and techniques of BIG GOVERNMENT to undermine private enterprise

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  4. Rex Widerstrom (5,354 comments) says:

    Taking the competing beliefs of (1), (2) and (3), I would support plain packaging if it stops young people taking up smoking.

    Then instead of this intellectually dishonest curtailing of taxpaying businesses’ rights to sell a legal product from which the government is happy to derive excise, GST and other taxes, how about a law that says – as with alcohol – proof of age must be shown when purchasing tobacco products and that no one born after 1995 (i.e. those under 18, and younger, as of this year) is allowed to purchase such products. But rather than “until they turn 18″, make it forever.

    That gives the tobacco companies plety of time to make an organised exit from the market, and the government time to slap on a “tax patch” and wean itself off the revenue to which it is clearly addicted.

    various groups will use this decision to advocate plain packaging and confiscation of brands and intellectual property for other companies such as alcohol and “fast” foods and “fizzy” drinks. Make no mistake that this is on their agenda

    That’s not a concern it’s a reality. It is already happening in Australia. Now that the “we know what’s best for you” brigade have plain packaging behind them, they’re at a loose end and have turned their attention to unhealthy food. Their proposal is to “regulate the density” of businesses allowed to sell unapproved items. So if you want to open a service station to compete with the one up the street that’s fine – just don’t expect to be able to sell the pies, sausage rolls, soft drinks and snack foods it sells, because they have the area’s only “bad foodstuffs” licence. Mission creep isn’t a side effect of such crusaders, it’s their modus operandi.

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  5. Stuart (41 comments) says:

    All good points, my greatest fear is #3, it starts a slippery slope that could make the world a very boring and mundane place. Whats next, no tui billboards?

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  6. Ed Snack (1,872 comments) says:

    Notice, Andrei, the tactic. They go for something generally unpopular (like Tobacco Companies, long reviled for some extremely dodgy practices back in the 50’s and 60’s and before) and then if you dare support their right to market and sell a legal substance, tar you with the same revulsion. You know “Ewww, you support TOBACCO (OMG) companies, all you ideas must be evil…”

    David is getting quite good at this typical government (read controlling class) tactic, witness his sliming of people of the homosexual marriage “debate” (It ain’t a debate, more like a liberal railroad in process).

    Yeah, yeah, yeah, by coming out with such a comment I’m probably a nasty “homophobe” with latent homosexual desires who also crushes kittens and puppies in my spare time. Just remember to make it properly PERSONAL when you criticize, thank you in expectation.

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  7. RRM (9,924 comments) says:

    I must say DPF, on this matter you straddle the fence with a poise that would do a United Future MP proud! :cool:

    I’m not so sure about 4 or 6… but yeah, 1,2, 3, 5 – spot on.

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  8. David Farrar (1,895 comments) says:

    Rex – if tobacco had never been introduced, it is unthinkable that one would allow a product to be sold that is so lethal. Could you imagine getting FDA approval for it?

    But you can’t ignore tobacco is legal not just in NZ, but almost every country on earth. Trying to unilaterally ban tobacco sales in NZ is likely to be about as effective as prohibition in the US in the 1930s. There would be a huge black market in it.

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  9. krazykiwi (9,186 comments) says:

    Could you imagine getting FDA approval for it?

    There are plenty of legal, every-day substances which wouldn’t get FDA approval. For example, if nutmeg where discovered today it would be a controlled drug.

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  10. Ed Snack (1,872 comments) says:

    David, not so sure about that (re tobacco being legal if introduced now); after all Marijuana, if smoked, has very similar impacts to tobacco (much smaller amounts but deeply inhaled, or at least it always was in my “experience”) and we have a gathering campaign to ensure that it is legalized. And there are some very real psychological effects on some people, the classic paranoid attacks can be come a very unpleasant reality for some users, and I’ve seen at least 2 people so affected.

    As I recall at least 3 US States decriminalized it by referendum at the last election. So there is a path to achieve this kind of de facto legalization; perhaps tobacco should be marketed as a “drug” and gain the same public approval. Though I suspect that a major advantage for marijuana is that it is not associated with a set of nasty capitalists trying to sell it, although the growing and selling of marijuana is indeed a major and extremely “capitalist” industry, albeit one run by people with a much better public reputation than tobacco companies….organised crime.

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  11. Manolo (13,774 comments) says:

    Labour lite raises the white flag and surrenders to the do-gooders. The Greens and Maori Party will be thrilled.

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  12. Andrei (2,652 comments) says:

    if tobacco had never been introduced, it is unthinkable that one would allow a product to be sold that is so lethal. Could you imagine getting FDA approval for it?

    See there you go David – The last person I knew who died from lung cancer was 85 years old when he did it! And I have no doubt that his death was dutifully recorded as a premature death from smoking. phttttt

    The life expectancy of smokers is reduced, a little and this actually saves the Government money.

    Tobacco came from the old world to the new 500 years ago and its use rapidly expanded to encompass the entire Eurassian continent because it served a psycho/social purpose and did very little harm. So little in fact that it wasn’t until the 1950s that its linkage with certain diseases was established, unlike things like opium, say, which rapidly manifested their harmful effects both social and personal. And tobaccos’s useful properties as a stress reliever was so apparent that cigarettes were issued as rations to GI’s in the field during WW2.

    I’m sure tobacco if it had appeared in recent times would be banned, big Government is in the business of banning things and the banners of things are in the ascendant but that does not mean banning tobacco is sensible or logical

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  13. Redbaiter (8,878 comments) says:

    Fascism.

    Plain and simple.

    Where is your professed respect for private property and private enterprise and the ability to each of us to make our own choices?

    What next from these useless socialist arseholes in the National Party?

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  14. Rex Widerstrom (5,354 comments) says:

    DPF says:

    Trying to unilaterally ban tobacco sales in NZ is likely to be about as effective as prohibition in the US in the 1930s. There would be a huge black market in it.

    But the proposal I’ve outlined doesn’t ban tobacco sales to anyone who’s addicted. It simply makes it illegal to sell to anyone who shouldn’t, by law, be able to buy it now and who thus will not have developed an addiction yet.

    With the addicts still able to purchase their fix legally until they give up voluntarily or die, how will a black market arise?

    Yes there will be a small number of people, not yet 18, who want to obtain tobacco and use it simply because they have risk-taking behaviour – the same as some people grow up and decide to try heroin despite not having been introduced to it as a child. But tobacco doesn’t have the same cachet as heroin – even confirmed smokers will admit that it’s a dirty, smelly, pastime – and nor does it induce the same euphoric affect as your first hit. Therefore I’d project (admittedly on nothing more than my work with addicts, since no such scheme has been tried anywhere, as far as I know) the percentage of new tobacco addicts would, over time, fall below the percentage of new heroin addicts – and that’s very small.

    But even if I’m wrong, it’s time for governments to stop having a bet each way on tobacco. Smokers’ rights have been curtailed to the point of ludicrousy (in some parts of Australia it’s illegal to smoke on your own highrise balcony) yet the reduction in the number of smokers seems to have plateaued – hence the desperate search for new deterrents, while being quite happy to pocket the excise. Now the rights being infringed are those of businesses, operating legally, employing NZers and paying taxes.

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  15. SPC (5,619 comments) says:

    Namby pambyism – if people don’t want the young to take up smoking and become addicts to nicotine based product that includes the cancer causing carcinogen (the tobacco tar) then restrict sale of the product to anyone born after 1994. Require users to have a right to purchase card indicating their birth prior to 1995.

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  16. Manolo (13,774 comments) says:

    6. My preference, as previously stated, was to trial plain packaging in one area of New Zealand, and compare to change in smoking rates to the control group in the other area….

    Please, play the violin while I vomit. :-)

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  17. All_on_Red (1,583 comments) says:

    As others have alluded too, its the taking away of Property Rights which has the unintended consequence because it creates Regime Uncertainty where no investor can or will have confidence in being able to maintain their rights so they just.dont.invest.

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  18. SPC (5,619 comments) says:

    Andrei, one wonders what made people of those times dependent on tobacco to relieve stress – WW2 is more obvious. One might suppose that P and cocaine might be useful to soldiers before campaigns began, but one wonders what branding of the products would be required to make the continued use by soldiers in peacetime acceptable.

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  19. SPC (5,619 comments) says:

    6. – the same system could be used before roll out of charter schools.

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  20. dime (9,972 comments) says:

    “Plain packs cant hurt. No one is going to say shit yeah I am gonna smoke that because its in a white pack!”

    then why introduce the law?

    Dime is filthy about this shitty shitty law

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  21. Andrei (2,652 comments) says:

    SPC – people use “drugs”, whether or not you approve of any particular drug choice is in the eyes of the beholder.

    We drink tea and coffee to perk ourselves up, caffeine having a revitalizing effect. For the mosr part caffeine does no harm, though just this week a coroner recommended warning labels on a product containing it.

    Caffeine is a socially accepted “drug” and does no social harm

    “P” does and we have laws against it, not that that stops people using “P”, it just makes it aan attractive black market item.

    And when people can’t get drugs they turn to other things, like butane in recent times.

    When you want to ban something you have to have a good reason for doing it – banning alcohol was done during prohibition because of the harm done to society by some people who misused it. Prohibition bought social consequences to the USA that it still lives with, organized crime most obviously and it paved the way for the black markets in newer and more dangerous drugs.

    Nobody commits crimes “under the influence of nicotine”, the only harm smoking does is to the user of it and then only after long term and heavy use – don’t believe the passive smoking BS, it is BS produced by those who want to tell other people how to live and use the heavy hand of legislation to do it.

    Get rid of tobacco and the vacuum created will be filled with something else and probably not something that is as benign as tobacco

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  22. Sector 7g (242 comments) says:

    What next from these useless socialist arseholes in the National Party?

    All you have to do is look on the front page of New Zealands biggest Socialist Blog….Kiwiblog.

    They will cancel the installation of the trans-tasman cable, because the Greens are against it.
    They will ban anyone that disagrees with homosexual marriage from talking.
    They will make sure quad-bikes are equipped with rotational towballs.
    They will make sure that all farm houses be fenced off.
    They will force people to wear hard hats when climbing ladders to prune trees.
    They will force people to have a licence to rent a nail gun.
    They will restrict access to glaciers.
    They will make it mandatory to wear a helmet while riding motorised skateboards.
    They will force warning labels on Coke.
    They will make it mandatory that you have to wear high visibility clothing (not just vests) for cycling.

    And pathetic little Socialists like DPF will all go along with it. Sleep in the bed you made.

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  23. Peter (1,712 comments) says:

    Yet more big-nanny socialism. Clark is alive and well in the National Party.

    Perhaps political parties could come in plain packaging. In NZ, the’d all come in red packets.

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  24. SPC (5,619 comments) says:

    Andrei, what drug do former tobacco users use now? They used to have a smoko with tea now that they do not smoke they have a more serious drink like coffee or they take up yoga.

    Banning E and other party pills resulted in more binge drinking. This is more deleterious.

    Reduced smoking rates only means more people live longer and children of low income smokers are better off.

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  25. RRM (9,924 comments) says:

    I’m with the right on this.

    I can’t help thinking they’ll come again within my lifetime, wanting to take away my espresso coffee because they’ve decided (in their magnificent wisdom) that it’s “bad” and should be “discouraged.”

    Either have the balls to properly ban it as an illegal substance e.g. P if you think there’s a real problem, or else back off.

    You can’t just decide that some businesses, although legal, are fair game for all sorts of punitive taxes and draconian rules around where they advertise, what their packaging can look like, etc.

    (Well, obviously you CAN, but you SHOULDN’T!)

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  26. The Scorned (719 comments) says:

    One of the threads where the likes of Andrei and Redbaiter are the liberals and DPF the controling fascist…:-)

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  27. Weihana (4,537 comments) says:

    Redbaiter (2,024) Says:
    February 19th, 2013 at 2:59 pm

    Fascism.

    Plain and simple.

    Where is your professed respect for private property and private enterprise and the ability to each of us to make our own choices?

    Says Singapore’s head cheerleader. Regulating tobacco is “fascism” while hanging people for marijuana is necessary because marijuana is a socialist plot. :)

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  28. CHFR (229 comments) says:

    I have just lost a friend aged 48 to cancer. Yes he was a heavy smoker who ate processed crap all the time, in fact thought peanut butter sandwiches on white bread with loads of coffee and the odd banana was good eating. I am fairly sure his diet had more to do with his death than cigarettes.

    I am also an ex-smoker of 2 years and gave up because I was ready to not because anyone told me to, cold turkey no cravings. That aside if you want to smoke smoke away it is your right but the hectoring nannies like DPF would take that away from you.

    I listened to this in the car today and wondered when we had re-elected Labour and realised to my horror there is no nowhere for a centre-right voter to vote any more.

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  29. Yvette (2,820 comments) says:

    Tobacco deal creates 50 jobs in Petone
    Last updated 05:00 26/03/2012
    Big Tobacco is getting even bigger in Lower Hutt as Imperial Tobacco’s Petone factory gears up to send 4 billion cigarettes a year to Australia.
    The long-established factory in Richmond St will be quadrupling its exports across the ditch and introducing 50 new jobs, with a two-year, $45-million upgrade nearing completion.

    Six new production lines feature German machinery capable of spitting out 8000 cigarettes each minute – nearly half a million per hour. Manufacturing staff numbers are increasing from 70 to 120.
    Most of Imperial’s cigarettes for Australia are made in Sydney by British American Tobacco, but that agreement runs out in June, with Petone set to benefit. Packets of up to 40 cigarettes in brands including JPS, Horizon and Davidoff will be manufactured in Lower Hutt and exported to Australia.

    The number of cigarettes smoked in New Zealand each year has fallen from more than 6 billion in the early 1980s, to just over 2 billion in 2011, according to Statistics NZ figures.
    http://www.stuff.co.nz/dominion-post/business/6635460/Tobacco-deal-creates-50-jobs-in-Petone

    New Zealand smoke-free by 2025? Export to Australia products which will be illegal here?

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  30. Manolo (13,774 comments) says:

    ..but the hectoring nannies like DPF would take that away from you.

    That’s the National Party for you, supposedly the party of free enterprise and individual responsibility.
    A bloody joke these days, since it shares a profound socialist streak with the much despised Labour Party.

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  31. Weihana (4,537 comments) says:

    RRM (6,362) Says:
    February 19th, 2013 at 3:48 pm

    I’m with the right on this.

    I can’t help thinking they’ll come again within my lifetime, wanting to take away my espresso coffee because they’ve decided (in their magnificent wisdom) that it’s “bad” and should be “discouraged.”

    Either have the balls to properly ban it as an illegal substance e.g. P if you think there’s a real problem, or else back off.

    You can’t just decide that some businesses, although legal, are fair game for all sorts of punitive taxes and draconian rules around where they advertise, what their packaging can look like, etc.

    (Well, obviously you CAN, but you SHOULDN’T!)

    There is some rather muddled rationalization going on here. If one completely prohibits something it is justified because it represents having “balls” whilst lesser restrictions and regulations are apparently “draconian”.

    I agree with the right on this particular issue. But many of them are the world’s biggest hypocrites when it comes to anything other than their particular drug of choice.

    The ship has long since sailed on drug policies with harmful unintended consequences that have imposed significant costs on society, particularly those who are disadvantaged or otherwise subjected to profiling. But when Don Brash suggests saving 100 million dollars a year by legalizing something most Kiwis have tried he is mocked and castigated.

    Nanny state? Well duh…

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  32. Redbaiter (8,878 comments) says:

    Doesn’t cost Singapore $100 million to control drugs.

    But then they have something sadly lacking in NZ law enforcement.

    Willpower.

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  33. CHFR (229 comments) says:

    Manolo I have not always agreed with you in the past but you are on the button with this.

    I am beginning to thunk it is no longer a left/right divide but now the (self elected) ruling class vs the rest of us. I missed the part where electing an MP meant that they no longer listened to what the voters wanted but told us what they thought was best. It is beginning to look like times of old where the land owner told the serfs what was best for them.

    It is time to make the politicians afraid of the voters not the other way round. Not sure how to achieve this but it has been done in the past and I am sure can be done again.

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  34. Weihana (4,537 comments) says:

    Redbaiter (2,026) Says:
    February 19th, 2013 at 4:20 pm

    Doesn’t cost Singapore $100 million to control drugs.

    But then they have something sadly lacking in NZ law enforcement.

    Willpower.

    Ahh yes… Hitler and Mussolini were known for their lack of willpower hence why we know NZ is such a fascist state. Fascists like the New Zealand government are at their worst when they do nothing and don’t execute people and give people the right to a fair trial. Cunning bastards.

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  35. Harriet (4,972 comments) says:

    The gay lifestyle takes 20yrs of your life….while smokes only take about 10yrs.

    Maybe if gays all dressed plainly it may stop teenagers from getting confused.

    National clearly believes life matters…. if you are a smoker…..it’s just the facts people….just sayin. :cool:

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  36. SPC (5,619 comments) says:

    Harriet, there is no evidence that lesbian women live shorter lives than you do.

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  37. mara (784 comments) says:

    If I could find another habit as enjoyable as smoking but cheaper , I might employ it to save money, but this bastard government would probably be advised by some snivelling, cardigan wearing, anti-sin , health, live forever fuckin minority interest group to tax or ban it due to its ill effect on minorities and native frogs and snails. I voted for Key last time, thinking it was the lesser of 2 evils … pfffist … All cats are grey in the dark.

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  38. tvb (4,422 comments) says:

    Plain packaging is bullshit and opens up a host of legal problems. How about another hike in the tax, tomorrow. Say $10.00/packet.

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  39. eszett (2,408 comments) says:

    Harriet’s brain comes in plain packaging as well.

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  40. SPC (5,619 comments) says:

    Maybe this is all the fault of those who oppose more generous support for children raised in poverty and do so on the basis that parents on welfare would just “smoke” the money away. Many of the women who support children raised in poverty are Maori women on welfare who smoke. And this initiative does come from the Maori Party.

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  41. Viking2 (11,471 comments) says:

    You know what’s interesting about this blog today.

    Yep the number of people who have finally awakend to the spurious claim that the Nats. are centre right and as such will stand up for free enterprise and property rights.
    Taken yus a fucken long time.

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  42. SPC (5,619 comments) says:

    That was obvious when they want to sell the power companies belonging to us without our consent. And over Maori objection given their property rights.

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  43. Yvette (2,820 comments) says:

    Further to the post 4.02 –
    Big Tobacco is getting even bigger in Lower Hutt as Imperial Tobacco’s Petone factory gears up to send 4 billion cigarettes a year to Australia.
    http://www.stuff.co.nz/dominion-post/business/6635460/Tobacco-deal-creates-50-jobs-in-Petone

    In respect to CER and all that stuff –
    If cigarettes are manufactured in Petone for Australia, are they exports here and/or imports there?
    Who will tobacco companies sue – someone in Australia or the New Zealand manufacturer.
    It would be nice if the Government, supportive Labour and others could clarify this matter.
    And should Winston Peters declare his personal interests in any deliberations?

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  44. Johnboy (16,554 comments) says:

    Au contraire SPC 4:48. :)

    http://www.stuff.co.nz/searchresults?Search+Site=Search+Site&cof=FORID%3A9&cx=006730714154542492986%3Aoh6vl0ybuqy&ie=UTF-8&q=lesbian+murder&siteurl=www.stuff.co.nz%2F&ref=&ss=7184j7398306j14

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  45. Johnboy (16,554 comments) says:

    I’ve started to speak French again Yvette! :)

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  46. Steve (North Shore) (4,562 comments) says:

    I don’t want the smokers to smoke less or quit. If they do that means I have to pay more TAX!

    Plain packaging may slow them down but a smoker will smoke. The silly pictures of bad teeth and eyes and fingers did nothing.

    Here is an idea: leave the packet branding alone and all you need is one written warning on the packet:

    “BUYING AND SMOKING CIGARETTES IS COSTING YOU A SHITLOAD IN TAX”
    Of coarse the bennies won’t give a shit because it is Taxpayers money

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  47. Yvette (2,820 comments) says:

    Indeed plain packaged gays – those who just get on with it, without the song and dance – most likely do live longer than flamboyant [or flamgirlant] branded counterparts.

    Johnboy – you may need more than two words

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  48. Johnboy (16,554 comments) says:

    Cinq sera suffisant ?

    Que faites-vous ce soir Yvette ? :)

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  49. Yvette (2,820 comments) says:

    Suspendu à chaque mot que vous écrivez, Johnboy

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  50. Yvette (2,820 comments) says:

    Is it smoking yet?

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  51. Johnboy (16,554 comments) says:

    Quelles parties de vous accrochez ?

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  52. Yvette (2,820 comments) says:

    Celles qui sont exercées par gravité, Johnboy
    But this departs the thread, I think

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  53. Johnboy (16,554 comments) says:

    Hélas une force irrésistible. Yvette.

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  54. swan (665 comments) says:

    Tariana is a compulsive liar. No evidence, but she “knows best”.

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  55. SPC (5,619 comments) says:

    Johnboy, however dangerous it is to get between a lesbian and the woman she wants to share her accomodation with, this does not diminish the capacity of a lesbian to live a life as long as Harriet’s …

    And of course smoking is more dangerous for one’s health than placing someone under the influence by drinking from them …

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  56. Left Right and Centre (2,979 comments) says:

    SPC 5:11pm- not your best work?

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  57. Left Right and Centre (2,979 comments) says:

    hey teacher- leave them kids alone

    we’ve had this talk before.

    don’t believe the passive smoking BS, it is BS produced by those who want to tell other people how to live and use the heavy hand of legislation to do it.

    who cares if it’s right or wrong… ciggie smoke is fucking horrid to breathe in. I’m glad they can’t smoke inside or just wherever they want to.

    There’s someone above saying what I think… either ban it outright or leave them alone. Pricks.

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  58. BlairM (2,339 comments) says:

    I want the stupid people to keep killing themselves so they won’t be a drain on the NZ Superannuation. I fail to see why governments should tax or restrict the sale of cigarettes to adults. This is appalling nannystateism from National.

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  59. SPC (5,619 comments) says:

    Left Right and Centre, someone had to point out that this is driven by the Maori Party and why they are doing it.

    1. Attacks on Maori women on welfare for spending on such as tobacco
    2. failure of Maori Party to get support for paying an earlier super payment to Maori because they die younger

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  60. OpenMind (54 comments) says:

    Surely if smokers wanna smoke they gonna smoke no matter what their beloved little sticks are packaged in. Most of the smokers I know have no real intention of giving up… and just ignore or mock the graphic images. Some throw out a vague ‘yeah I know I should give up’ but they don’t until some real life threat forces them to such as getting pregnant or getting cancer or having to give up before an operation. (Then they usually go back to it again even if at a diminished level). It’s their relaxation, their stress reliever, their self-conscious social prop and also their “F-you no-one’s gonna tell me what to do” rebel streak.

    Personally I wouldn’t mind seeing McDonald’s and other useless fake food put into plain packaging and print gruesome images of obese and disease-ridden sloths all over it. Am I wrong in assuming our most un health-conscious members are a much bigger drain on our society and health system than the smokers?

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