Associate Health Minister, Tariana Turia, commends the brave initiative of the Australian Federal Government who have passed plain packaging laws for cigarettes through both houses of Parliament.
The legislation has got through all stages, now meaning Australia is the first country in the world to introduce plain packaging of tobacco.
"It is a fantastic achievement which means that from December next year cigarettes will have to be sold in generic dark green packets with tobacco industry logos, brand imagery, colours and promotional text banned from each packet".
"I am really looking forward to New Zealand following the lead of Australia and introducing plain packaging laws in the next Government.
I am extremely serious about reducing the death toll and the terrible harm caused by smoking. Every effort must be made towards achieving the goal of making our nation smoke-free by 2025.
"Our tobacco product labelling rules have long been harmonised across the Tasman, with similar requirements for graphic health warning pictures on the packs. I anticipate that without too much difficulty, we can turn our attention towards aligning tobacco product regulation with Australia"
"We have had a very strong programme of tobacco reform - raising tobacco taxes, banning in-store displays, increasing the penalties for sales to under 18 year olds, have all contributed towards making smoking cessation a top priority for the health system."
"I congratulate the Australian Health Minister, Nicola Roxon, for her leadership, and look forward to New Zealand following suit in continuing to put in place incentives to reduce tobacco uptake, and in doing so to reduce the number of deaths from smoking related disease".