Towards Plain Packaging: New Zealand's Way Forward in the Regulation of Tobacco Products

39 Pages Posted: 14 Jul 2016

Date Written: 2013


The New Zealand Government has indicated its intention to legislate for the plain packaging of tobacco products. This paper considers what path New Zealand should take in implementing its own plain packaging regime. Consideration of New Zealand’s particular interests is necessary in determining what constitutes the most appropriate approach to plain packaging for New Zealand. Whether these interests would be best represented through a policy of alignment with Australia or by implementing an alternative approach to plain packaging should inform the way in which the New Zealand Government proceeds with plain packaging. This paper considers alignment with Australia to be the most effective way to address the public health concerns presented by tobacco products and recommends that plain packaging is implemented in alignment with Australia’s plain packaging regime. However, this paper also recognises that a policy of alignment gives rise to certain risks and seeks to demonstrate that there are ways in which these risks may be reduced. New Zealand should consider the implementation of certain measures to reduce the risk of investment arbitration as well as the possibility of variations on the basic position of alignment in order to reduce the risk of WTO claims against plain packaging.

Keywords: New Zealand, Tobacco, Plain Packaging, Alignment

JEL Classification: KOO

Suggested Citation

McLean, Ella, Towards Plain Packaging: New Zealand's Way Forward in the Regulation of Tobacco Products (2013). Available at SSRN: or

Ella McLean (Contact Author)

Buddle Findlay ( email )

New Zealand

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