This page summarises the regulatory changes that will take effect from March 2018 and links to relevant documents.
The introduction of Tobacco Standardised Packaging is part of the Government’s comprehensive tobacco control programme.
What is happening?
The tobacco standardised packaging regime comes into force on 14 March 2018; in addition an extra six weeks is allowed for old stock to be distributed and a further six weeks for that old stock to be sold. So after 6 June 2018 only standardised packs will be able to be sold.
What is in the regulations?
New Zealand tobacco packets will be the same standard dark brown/green background colour as Australia, United Kingdom, Ireland and France.
New pictures and health warnings will be enlarged to cover at least 75% of the front of tobacco packs, and all tobacco company marketing imagery will be removed.
Tobacco manufacturers will be allowed to print a brand name and variant on their tobacco products, but the regulations standardise how these look, including where they must be on the pack, what type face and font size and colour must be used.
Cigarettes will only be sold in packs of either 20 or 25 sticks, in standard cardboard packs and loose tobacco in pouches of 30 or 50 grams in standard rectangular soft plastic pouches.
The regime is similar to that in place in Australia.
View the regulations on the New Zealand Legislation website:
Graphic images and warning messages
A new set of 14 health warning messages and images have been prepared and will feature on the new tobacco packs. Seven of these images will rotated each year:
The timeline to standardised packaging
The Smoke-free Environments (Tobacco Plain Packaging) Amendment Bill had its first reading on 11 February 2014. See statement from Hon Tariana Turia on Beehive website.
It follows a decision in April 2012 by the Government to agree in principle to introduce a plain packaging regime in alignment with Australia pending the outcome of a public consultation process (published online: 23 July 2012). The public consultation closed on 5 October 2012 and Cabinet considered a report on the consultation on 18 February 2013. The Government decided to proceed with legislation (see statement on Beehive website). The resultant bill was lodged in December 2013 (see statement on Beehive website).
Standardised Packaging of Tobacco Products
- Standardised Tobacco Products Packaging Draft Regulations: Summary of Submissions
- Cabinet paper: Smoke-free Environments Regulations, May 2017 (pdf, 113 KB)
- Cabinet paper: Smoke-free (Standarisation of Tobacco Packaging and Tobacco Products) Regulations, November 2016 (pdf, 1.7 MB)
- Report on Submission Analysis (Word, 560 KB)
- Regulatory Impact Statement (PDF, 1.2 MB)
- Cabinet paper – 27 November 2012 (PDF, 1 MB)
- Cabinet minute – CAB Min (13) 4/16 (Word, 48 KB)
Tobacco Plain Packaging: Approval for drafting
- Cabinet paper – 21 August 2013 (PDF, 3.7 MB)
- Cabinet Social Policy Committee minutes – SOC Min (13) 19/6 (PDF, 1.1 MB)
- Cabinet minute – CAB Min (13) 30/5 (PDF, 166 KB)
Smoke-free Environments (Tobacco Plain Packaging) Amendment Bill: Approval for introduction
- Cabinet paper – 11 December 2013 (PDF, 1.7 MB)
- Cabinet Legislation Committee minute – LEG Min (13) 28/7 (PDF, 359 KB)
- Cabinet paper – Standardised Tobacco Product Packaging Update & Next Steps (pdf, 40 KB)
- Cabinet Social Policy Committee minutes – Standardised Tobacco Product Packaging Update & Next Steps cabinet, 11 November 2015 (pdf, 241 KB)
Information that is not related to plain packaging has been removed from these documents.
Some information has been withheld under Official Information Act provisions. Where this has occurred it is noted in the papers next to the redaction.