The Cancer Society is against the planned increase of New
Zealand export of tobacco products to Australia. While the hiked
production of cigarettes would lead to the creation of 50 new
jobs in the next 24 months, it would also cause the loss of
20,000 lives yearly in Australia, Cancer Society Health Promotion
Manager Jan Pearson said.
Imperial Tobacco's factory in Richmond Street is expected to
quadruple its exports to Australia with the $45-million upgrade
of its facility almost complete. It would result in 4 billion
cigarettes being delivered to Australia per year.
"Those four billion cigarettes will have to be the most
unpopular and unwelcome Kiwi import to Australia.... The increase
in production will supply around 100,000 Australian smokers per
year - 20 per cent will die a cancer-related death," Mr Pearson
The increase in production capacity is because of Imperial's
use of new German machinery that is capable of manufacturing
8,000 cigarette sticks per minute or 500,000 an hour. This would
require Imperial to boosts its manpower to 120 from the current
Due to the lapse in June of an agreement between Imperial and
British American Tobacco which makes the cigarettes in Sydney,
Imperial's Petone facility would benefit from the arrangement.
The Petone plant would produce packets of up to 40 cigarettes to
be sold under the brands JPS, Horizon and Davidoff, to be
manufactured in Lower Hutt and exported to Australia.
Petone Factory Manager Michael McInnarney said Imperial was
able to convince its parent company to expand its production
capacity in Lower Hutt due to logistic and transport advantages
to have the additional tobacco products made in New Zealand
instead of other Asian countries.
The higher export of cigarettes to Australia would help the
tobacco industry recover from the drop in smoking in New Zealand
to just 2 billion cigarettes lit in 2011 from 6 billion in the
Action on Smoking and Health (
) Director Ben Youdan said New Zealanders should take
responsibility for an anticipated rise in deaths in Australia due
to tobacco-related ailments. He lamented the rise in production
and export at a time when New Zealand aims to make the country
smoke-free by 2025.
"What we would have hoped... is that we should be getting the
tobacco industry out from the country, not expanding it," Mr
Youdan was quoted by The Herald Sun.