Sunday, 11 November 2012

A Spot Of Bother In New Zealand

Following the fairly emphatic public rejection in the UK of the tobacco control industry's latest fund-justifying scheme, it's interesting to watch the same nonsense being played out in New Zealand.

Their own consultation and campaign - which was run along the same lines right down to carbon copy propaganda - finished recently but they also seem to be struggling with the results.
A month after consultation on its plain packaging regime for cigarettes closed, the Ministry of Health will not say how many submissions it received. 
The government has agreed in principle to introduce plain packaging laws for tobacco products, subject to the outcome of a consultation process. 
Yet the October 5 deadline for submissions passed unannounced, suggesting the number received in opposition could be huge.
You too, New Zealand? Oh dear.

While the public health racket down there is unusually silent, opponents of plain packaging are the ones demanding answers.
One of New Zealand’s leading retail organisations today issued a challenge to the Ministry of Health to release the initial results of the submission process as businesses face more costs if this proposal for plain packaging of tobacco products is adopted. 
“We are astounded that it’s been over a month since the Government’s much heralded consultation on its ‘Proposal to Introduce Plain Packaging of Tobacco Products’ and there been absolutely no comment from either the Ministry or from the Associate Minister of Health Tariana Turia,” said Roger Bull, Chairman of the New Zealand Association of Convenience Stores (NZACS). 
“We are aware that nearly 4,000 retailers have expressed their opposition to a measure that they feel will do little aside from increase costs onto their businesses. This is a huge number representing about 71% of the approximately 5,600 retailers that sell tobacco in New Zealand,” said Mr Bull.
It would seem that plain packaging isn't producing the tidal wave of popular opinion that tax-sponging tobacco controllers hoped it would (yes, the NZ campaign benefited from public money too).

It's not too surprising, if you think about it. Their shouting "look at me, look at me!" has worked many times in the past as they point to some urgent law that they have worked out needs applying to keep the cash rolling in. However, it seems that the incessant waving and whining to attract attention, but then only being able to point to something as disappointingly uninspiring as plain packaging tobacco, doesn't really float many boats with a jaded public.

There are only so many times you can incentivise people to get excited for the sake of your bank balance before they just switch off. Crying wolf once works, crying it over and over - when the positive results are never forthcoming - just doesn't engender the same urgency as the time before.

It just leaves New Zealand's brand of public health troughers, so used to an easy win in these circumstances, struggling to spin the numbers. If the support had been overwhelming, you just know that they'd be shouting it from every available rooftop, without a doubt.

After the Department of Health in the UK desperately tried to corrupt the public view of huge opposition to plain packaging - while simultaneously having cheated, lied and misled throughout the consultation - their New Zealand counterparts look like they're intending to employ the same grubby tactics.

The scene inside the NZ Ministry of Health could be similar to this chucklesome clip from Nannying Tyrants.

Perhaps they'd all be happier if the public weren't allowed to express inconvenient opinions, eh?.


Eric Crampton said...

MoH does have a bit of data up now:


The Ministry of Health is now analysing the submissions and working with other government departments including Treasury, Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade and the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment to prepare a report back to Cabinet before the end of the year.

A summary of the submissions will be placed on this website following Cabinet's decision.

There were 292 individual submissions. In addition more than 20,000 people and organisations expressed a view on the proposal through pre-printed postcards, letters, and petitions."

No clue how many were for it and against it; would expect that there were a few pre-printed submissions came both from the ASH side and the retailers side.

James Watson said...


"....through pre-printed postcards, letters, and petitions"
I should imagine that ASH ET AL used their previous trick of multiple postcards. It would be the letters and petitions which came from elsewhere.

Michael McFadden said...

They cheated?

They Lied??

They MISLED???

Dick, how can you possibly fault them for simply continuing to do what they *always* do.

They're Antismokers. Look at their history. Easier to find a zebra shedding its stripes than to find one of them with an ounce of integrity. They'll tell you one thing on a Monday and then the opposite on a Friday if it pleases them: they have no standards, only a goal: and they'll try to get to it no matter what the costs along the way.