Tuesday 16 February 2016

The forgotten plain packaging battle

John Key says New Zealand's likely to follow Australia's lead on plain tobacco packaging by the end of the year, noting the Australian government's win against Philip Morris under the Australia-Hong Kong FTA.

He didn't mention the ongoing WTO disputes. The most recent one, by Indonesia, should have a final report out in the second half of 2016. I am not a lawyer; I expect that the Prime Minister's statement about NZ being on strong legal ground if it mandates plain packaging means he reckons Australia will win in the set of WTO disputes.

There's no good outcome of the WTO fights. Either WTO rules against Australia and NZ winds up being in WTO trouble if it goes ahead with plain packaging, or it rules in favour of Australia and we wait to see which country wishes to be first to impose plain packaging on wines including New Zealand's. Otago public health has suggested plain packaging for soda....


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