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10 December 2010
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Digest No. 1831

Smoke-free Environments (Controls and Enforcement) Amendment Bill 2010

Date of Introduction: 06 December 2010
Portfolio: Health
Select Committee: As at 09 December, 1st Reading not held.
Published: 09 December 2010byJohn McSoriley BA LL.B, Barrister,Legislative AnalystP: (04) 817-9626 (Ext. 9626)F: (04) 817-1250Public enquiries:Parliamentary Information Service: (04 817-9647) Caution: This Digest was prepared to assist consideration of the Bill by members of Parliament. It has no official status.Although every effort has been made to ensure accuracy, it should not be taken as a complete or authoritative guide to the Bill. Other sources should be consulted to determine the subsequent official status of the Bill.


The aim of the Bill is to amend the Smoke-free Environments Act 1990 (the Act) to prohibit the display of tobacco products in or at the exterior of retail and other sales outlets and to “tighten up tobacco controls and enforcement [1]   .


Need for the Bill

In relation to the restriction on display, the prohibition comes “into force six months after it becomes law, but people offering tobacco products for sale may be exempted from compliance during a 2-year transition period.

“Although the Act currently restricts retail displays to some extent, it allows tobacco companies to display their products prominently in some 10 000 dairies, supermarkets, and petrol stations. This everyday presence of tobacco products:

  • sanctions or normalises their availability and use; and

  • increases the risks of young people and others experimenting with smoking; and

  • can trigger relapses in addicted smokers trying to quit.

Retail displays of tobacco are also a particular focus of public concern and calls for prohibition” [2]   .

Regulatory impact statement

The Ministry of Health produced a regulatory impact statement on 12 October 2010 to help inform the main policy decisions taken by the Government relating to the contents of this Bill.

A copy of this regulatory impact statement can be found at:

Main Provisions


The Bill prohibits the display on the exterior of retail premises of retailers' names or trading names that are or include words, phrases, trade marks, or company names that have the effect of advertising the availability of tobacco. Limited information may be displayed by retailers and on automatic vending machines. The Bill also generally prohibits the display of tobacco products in or from sales outlets or vending machines. (Part 1, Clause 6, amending Section 22; Clause 7, substituting Sections 23 and 23A of the Act).

Arrangements conflicting with the Act have no effect

The Bill provides that a term of an arrangement (for example, of a contract, or a legally binding or other agreement, undertaking, or understanding) has no effect if compliance with the term would “”prevent or “limit” compliance with the prohibition. Persons adversely affected even though they are not in a contractual relationship are given rights to obtain relief under the Illegal Contracts Act 1970 (Part 1, Clause 8, inserting New Section 28A into the Act).


The Bill creates an offence where a person without reasonable excuse allows a tobacco product, tobacco package, or tobacco carton to be visible in contravention of New Section 23A (display of tobacco products (see above)). A person who commits such an offence is liable to a fine not exceeding $10,000 (Part 2, Clause 12).

Infringement offences

The Bill provides for an infringement notice scheme to enforce the prohibition on the sale of tobacco products to people below the age of 18 years (Part 2, Clause 13, inserting New Sections 38A-38D).


The Bill provides that regulations may be made for various purposes detailed in the Bill. In particular, regulations may relate to warnings which must be placed on, or in respect of, tobacco products (Part 2, Clause 14, , amending Section 39 of the Act, inserting new subsections (6A) and (6B)).

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  1. Smoke-free Environments (Controls and Enforcement) Amendment Bill, 2010 No 267-1, Explanatory note, General policy statement, pp 1 and 2.   [back]
  2. Ibid., p. 1.   [back]