A bill forcing tobacco companies to use plain packaging for their products has taken its first step through Parliament.
Associate Health Minister Tariana Turia said she was acutely aware of the effect of branding on consumer behaviour which the Smoke-free Environments (Tobacco Plain Packaging) Amendment Bill would seek to curb
The decision to introduce of plain packaging was made to remove the last way for tobacco companies to promote smoking.
After the removal of advertising smoking companies had worked hard to develop brands and packaging to persuade smoking is fun and glamorous, Turia said.
She said legal threats from the tobacco sector should be ignored.
Prime Minister John Key has indicated the bill will not pass into law until legal action against similar legislation in Australia is concluded.
ACT MP John Banks said he would be voting against the bill which he described as an exercise in rain dancing before an election.
Tobacco was being singled out when alcohol caused more harm and Banks said he was opposed to the use of both.
It would best to double the duty on tax to reduce smoking instead of gutting intellectual property rights, he said.
NZ First indicated they would only support the bill as far as select committee at this stage.
The bill completed its first reading by 118 to 1 with John Banks opposed and it was sent to the Health Committee.
The third reading of the Subantarctic Islands Marine Reserves Bill was then completed and passed on a voice vote.
MPs then began the second reading debate of the Victims of Crime Reform Bill with debate interrupted when the House rose at 10pm.
Earlier in the evening the Government adjourned the debate on the Prime Minister’s statement with with four hours and one minute remaining.
ParliamentToday.co.nz is a breaking news source for New Zealand parliamentary business featuring broadcast daily news reports