Saturday 18 August 2012

International influence

It can't just be coincidence, can it? A big UK lobby group puts out an ad about tobacco plain packaging and a New Zealand one just happens to put out an almost identical Kiwi variant soon afterwards? How long are we going to tolerate these big multinational efforts to influence New Zealand legislation, and especially when they're using kids to do it?

Dick Puddlecote points out the very strong similarities between the ad put up by government-funded lobby groups funding plain packaging advocacy in the UK and the one that's now up here in New Zealand. You watch and spot the difference. And hit Puddlecote's blog for a lot more context.

Here's the British one, courtesy of Cancer Research UK. The concluding quote:
Unbranding cigarette packs won't stop everyone from smoking, but it will give millions of kids one less reason to start.
Here are the New Zealand variants. The English version is embedded below; the Maori one here-linked. They're courtesy of Plain Packs New Zealand. Who are they? Their supporters listed at the bottom of the website include a great big list of agencies receiving cash from the New Zealand Government for provision of various health services. Someday, somebody's going to have to do a thorough audit of how much money the New Zealand Government gives these outfits to lobby the government on policy.

The quote mid-video (0:29):
Unbranding cigarette packs won't stop everyone from smoking. But it will give our kids one less reason to start.
Maybe we need a national inquiry into the international conspiracy to influence New Zealand legislation here. Ok, not really. But where the anti-tobacco folks express shock and indignation that tobacco companies might coordinate efforts across countries, it's worth noting that they're hardly the only ones.

I'm more serious about the need for an audit to find out how much tax money goes to pay anti-tobacco advocacy groups to engage in policy advocacy.


  1. two quite sickly little videos, nearly identical, both too long for tv adverts, but good for Government funding.

  2. It is hard to believe the government cannot bring our deficit under control when there is waste like this (referring to govt funding groups to lobby itself).

  3. Two words: Joe Camel.

  4. I'm pretty sure that I've never contributed a dime to Joe Camel. I am pretty sure that the government here forced me to pay for some of those Plain Packs ads.