Standardized packaging could extend to alcohol, fast food and soft drinks

| February 21, 2013

One of the organizations that contributed to New Zealand’s public consultation on standardized packaging for tobacco products is concerned that the decision to go ahead with imposing such a requirement will set a precedent for other products, according to a Yahoo! New Zealand News story.

The New Zealand government has said that it is to push on with plans to bring in such a packaging requirement for tobacco products, though it will not implement it until the resolution of World Trade Organization disputes involving Australia, the only country so far to have introduced such packaging.

The chief executive of the Association of New Zealand Advertisers, Lindsay Mouat, said that if the government could step in to legislate over cigarettes, it could be pushed into legislating in other areas too.

“Some may take this as an opportunity to seek plain packaging in other sectors, such as alcohol, fast food, carbonated beverages and the like,” he said.

Mouat added that plain packaging meant brands lost their identity. “It limits the opportunity for those brands to introduce new products, products that may be considered better for you,” he said.

“In actual fact, it has some unintended consequences of reducing choice for consumers.”

But opposition leader, David Shearer, supports the policy, and does not believe it is vulnerable to the intellectual property arguments being mounted by tobacco companies.

In any case, he said, New Zealand was willing to take on the tobacco companies.

“The most important thing is that our population stays as healthy as they possibly can,” he said.

Category: Breaking News

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