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Draft plain packaging regs to be released

NZ NewswireNZ Newswire 30/05/2016

The government is about to release draft regulations for the plain packaging of cigarettes.

The bill that allows it to enforce plain packaging is still to be passed by parliament but on Tuesday, to mark World Smokefree Day, it's going to release the draft regulations for public consultation.

That means they can be finalised and ready to go when the bill has been passed.

"The next stage will be the release of the draft regulations tomorrow, they'll go out for public consultation," a spokeswoman for Associate Health Minister Sam Lotu-Iiga told NZ Newswire.

The plain packaging bill was introduced in February last year and passed its first reading, but the government put it on hold because it was worried about costly legal challenges from the big multi-national tobacco companies.

The Australian government was being sued at the time, but in December last year the legal action failed.

Prime Minister John Key says cabinet hasn't made the "formal decision" to put the bill through its final stages but he's indicating it soon will.

"Quite a number of countries have moved towards plain packaging, the advice I'm getting from my officials is it's safer for us to proceed," he said at his post-cabinet press conference.

"We're getting much more comfortable in moving more quickly towards that decision."

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