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?.