The Government needs to tell the public if it authorised Washington Ambassador Mike Moore's co-hosting of a dinner party co-sponsored by tobacco giant Philip Morris, Green Party Health Spokesperson Kevin Hague said today.
The Governors and Ambassadors World Trade Reception was attended by Mike Moore who was there to push the Trans-Pacific Partnership trade agreement. Australia's ambassador withdrew from the event due to the presence of Philip Morris. The tobacco giant is currently suing the Australian Government.
"Ministers McCully and Groser need to tell the New Zealand public exactly what they knew about Mike Moore's cosying up to big tobacco and multinational pharmaceutical companies looking to neuter Pharmac," said Mr Hague.
"Philip Morris is currently suing the Australian Government over an Australian public health initiative to package cigarettes in plain wrapping.
"New Zealand is considering similar plain package laws.
"Our ambassador's attendance at a trade event sponsored by Philip Morris and big Pharmac sends a clear message we will put trade interests ahead of public health initiatives.
"To clear up any confusion, the Government needs come out and state whether or not they will follow Australia's lead in promoting plain packaging anti-smoking initiatives," said Mr Hague.
"The Government also needs to be up-front about what new rights to foreign companies - such as Philip Morris - it is willing to cede in order to get the United States to sign the Trans-Pacific Partnership trade agreement."
Link to the Governors and Ambassadors World Trade Reception: