Category Archives: Tobacco

One does not simply brand cigarettes


I read this in the news last week.

Cigarette plain packaging closer

New Zealand has the “sovereign right” to protect its citizens and will not be told what to do by tobacco companies, Tariana Turia says, as plain packaging of cigarettes passed its first hurdle.

Last night Turia, Associate Minister of Health, introduced the Smokefree Environments (Tobacco Plain Packaging) Amendment Bill into Parliament, and it passed its first vote by 118 votes to one.

It has now been referred to the Health Select Committee for public consultation. National, Labour, the Greens are all supporting it, while New Zealand First was expected to support it at least through to select committee.

Eventually the legislation would see all branding removed from all tobacco products, aside from the name of the variation in small plain type, with large warnings about the risks posed by smoking.

Turia said that despite legal challenges to similar measures across the Tasman, she was confident it met New Zealand’s international obligations.

Mandatory plain packaging is the latest government intervention to stop people smoking.

I’m against it. It’s creeping totalitarianism!

The tobacco industry is against it. British American Tobacco spokeswoman Susan Jones says

Plain packaging constitutes a severe restriction on the use of our intellectual property, including trademarks. This is a huge concern to us, as it would be to any business, because the effect is to render our trademarks unusable.

John Banks is against it. He says

I don’t believe the State should seize property rights from legitimate companies selling legitimate products

What I find particularly interesting is that Jones and Banks both make their argument against plain packaging on the basis of intellectual property rights, specifically trademarks. But there are no intellectual property rights! Or, there shouldn’t be!

There’s no doubt that the introduction of private property was hugely civilising. Property rights in the tangible fruits of one’s labours means that one’s possessions are legally secure. Whereas, before the invention of private property, one could walk into stores and just take things, now it’s theft!

Privatisation of land also seems to me to have been a good idea. (Not according to the geolibertarians.) But should we privatise everything? Should we privatise the whales? Should we privatise business names and logos? Should we privatise inventions? Should we privatise stories? Should we privatise air? Should we privatise the Moon?


Please understand that what constitutes private property is a system of restrictions, authorised and enforced by government, on who may do what with certain things. For example, making it illegal for anyone except the R. J. Reynolds Tobacco Company to use the word ‘camel’ and a picture of a camel in certain contexts is what constitutes the company’s intellectual property in the Camel trademark. To own a trademark is to restrict everyone else’s freedoms, e.g., to restrict their freedoms to talk about and draw camels.

Getting the government to restrict other people’s freedoms to use words, images and ideas is tantamount to theft and anathema to this libertarian.

Jones complains that plain packaging constitutes a severe restriction on the use of British American Tobacco’s intellectual property. Of course, it does. But here’s the irony. The very existence of a British American Tobacco trademark is constituted by severe restrictions on everyone else’s use of what previously they could freely use. Now it’s not simply everyone else whose freedoms are restricted. It’s everyone whose freedoms are restricted, including British American Tobacco. It’s now illegal for anyone to use the word ‘camel’ and a picture of a camel in certain contexts. One law for all!

I don’t think much of the trademarks argument put forward by Jones and Banks. The government giveth and the government taketh away. Problem?

A government big enough to give you everything you want is a government big enough to take from you everything you have.

Unionists 1, Lawyers 0


Labour List MP Charles Chauvel (pictured top right) has resigned from Parliament (effective 11 March). He’s going to a job at the United Nations where he’ll join his former boss, former Labour Prime Minister Helen Clark (pictured bottom left).

The United Nations is a common penultimate destination for Labour’s troughed-out ex-MPs. (When they die, they go to the great trough in the sky.)

Former Labour List MP Carol Beaumont (pictured top left) is set to return to Parliament as Chauvel’s replacement. We’ll be up a trade unionist abortionist and down a gay lawyer. This minor opposition reshuffle is interesting (to me) for two reasons.

Firstly, Chauvel sponsored a Member’s bill, the Credit Reforms (Responsible Lending) Bill, which would have dealt to scum-of-the-earth usurers.

Ever since I became an MP, an issue that I have supported is the regulation of so called “loan sharks”. Loan sharks prey on the vulnerable with unscrupulous rates of interest and this includes many of our Pacific people. They are the scourge of our community and instead of lending a helping hand keep borrowers in poverty. It is common for payday lenders to charge interest at rates between “only” 8% and 15% per week, compounding well into four figures at a time when mainstream rates have declined.

Chauvel’s Credit Reforms (Responsible Lending) Bill was drawn from the ballot in 2009. In early 2010 Beaumont took over responsibility for Chauvel’s bill, which was subsequently defeated at its first reading in July 2010. So, a common interest there, and with Beaumont back in Parliament perhaps we’ll still see some action on loan sharks.

Secondly, three elections in a row Chauvel failed to unseat United Future MP Peter Dunne (pictured bottom right) in the Ōhariu electorate. Dunne gloated tweeted from Dubai airport

Ready to board Melb/Auck flight. After what’s been happening in NZ today certainly seems time to come home and join the fun.

Chauvel did succeed in reducing Dunne’s majority from 12,534 (in 2002) to 7,702 (in 2005) and 1006 (in 2008) but 1392 (in 2011) was a miss as good as a mile. I hope Labour puts up a strong candidate to contest the Ōhariu electorate in 2014. It’s way way wayyyy past time to flush the Dunney!

A Message from Jodie Emery…

From her facebook feed…
“Congratulations to *everyone* who worked on all of the marijuana campaigns in the United States! Enormous thanks to, and praise for, YES on WA’s Marijuana Initiative 502 and Vote “Yes” on Amendment 64, Legalize Marijuana – YOU DID IT! The whole world is watching, it’s big, big news! Much more hard work and perseverance is needed in the USA, Canada, and internationally to keep the momentum going!”

For those of you who dont yet know it, the US States of Colorado and Washington have just legalised Recreational use of Cannabis!

For those of you who dont know who Jodie is… Shes the Legendary Flipside of the Legendary Cannabis Reform activist and Political Prisoner… Canadian Marc Emery, who is currently serving time in the US for his activism to legalise Cannabis.
Marc had a Postal seed business which he used to generate millions of dollars which he poured into the struggle to legalise Pot.
This made him Emery Number 1 with the American drug enforcement agencies.. you see few people whom capitalise from cannabis actaully want to decriminalise it and even fewer use their revenue for the cause!

What a Woman!
Not only has she’s stood by her husband through His ordeal, she has taken on his Mantle and is a Mighty Warrior… an Amazon for the cause!

Man that’s some good shit!:-)

That Marc has been separated from his Hot Babe is an Injustice upon Injustice!

Why do so many of you people out there whom enjoy Cannabis, and are persecuted for it… do nothing to in your own defence?
That’s Lame!
It is time to stand up Bitches!
Join Jodie on Facebook Here:
And help them with the continuing struggle for justice… Ending the War on drugs.

Read more about Marc here:

New Zealand has our own Marc Emery… Dakta Green.
Contact him Here and find out what you can do for the Cause here in NZ.

Liberty Conference. Auckland 2012.

Jackbooted State Goons lay Filthy hands on Peaceful Law Reformer.

@#$% you I wont do what you told me!