Tobacco products and advertisements will have to be kept out of sight in shops under a law passed by Parliament yesterday.

All but three Act MPs voted for the Smoke-free Environments (Controls and Enforcement) Amendment Bill, which gives retailers until next July to hide away cigarettes and tobacco.

Associate Health Minister Tariana Turia said the tobacco industry used displays to prey on young people.

"No longer will people go into a dairy for milk and a newspaper only to be confronted by a wall of cigarettes.

"These 'power walls' not only encourage young people to try smoking, they also make it harder on those attempting to quit."

Her next move is a bill for plain packaging for tobacco, saying it was another "biggie" that the tobacco industry strongly resists.

"It sends a very clear signal to the tobacco industry just how serious we are. In an ideal world this is not a product that should be sold at all. So I'm going to continue to press to pass legislation that hopefully means by 2025 there will be no tobacco in Aotearoa."

Act MPs Sir Roger Douglas, Heather Roy and Hilary Calvert voted against the bill on the grounds of rational personal choice. However, all other MPs supported it.

Mrs Turia also acknowledged the role of Hone Harawira in forcing a select committee inquiry into the tobacco industry.

Mr Harawira had hoped to vote for the bill after being sworn into Parliament, but was denied the chance after the Speaker ejected him for delivering the wrong oath.

Labour MP Iain Lees-Galloway called on New Zealand to be as brave as Australia in moving to plain packaging. Vending machines should also be targeted.

National's Paul Hutchison said it was also good the bill covered herbal products which also could harm health.

The internet, duty free stores and sponsored events were all covered by the change in the law and there was evidence it would make a difference, he said.

Action on Smoking and Health director Ben Youdan welcomed the law, saying it was particularly pleasing that it got such widespread support in Parliament.


Auckland Council leaders have quickly snuffed out a councillor's bid to have smokers banned from gathering in front of CBD buildings.

Penny Webster, who is acting mayor while Mayor Len Brown and Deputy Mayor Penny Hulse are overseas, said any ban would impact on Auckland's image.

"What are we trying to say? Are we saying: 'Well, Auckland is not a fun city'. What are you going to look at next? Sex between consenting adults in the bedroom?" she said.

Mrs Webster's dismissal showed how upset council leaders were by community safety forum chairman George Wood saying in yesterday's Herald that he wanted a smoking ban bylaw for streets outside CBD buildings, because other footpath users were breathing in their smoke.

Mr Wood was confident of getting support from councillors for a penalty-based ban. He welcomed Auckland Transport's investigation into a bylaw to ban smoking in open bus shelters.

But he was disappointed when most forum members rebuffed his call for the promotion of smoke-free public places and for work towards a strategic commitment to a smoke-free city.

Councillor Cameron Brewer was concerned that smokers were being treated like lepers and pushed outside. Giving them nowhere to go would drive them back into the family home and family car.

"I think that's more damaging to their family and friends than standing on Queen St."

But councillor Richard Northey said people had the right to breathe without being subjected to passive smoke.

At some council events, like concerts in the Auckland Domain, people had no choice but to have someone smoking near them; smoking in public places should be discouraged.

- Wayne Thompson
* Bans advertising from shops.

* Bans display of tobacco products.

* Increases fines for those who sell to under-18s.

* Plain packaging for cigarettes - strongly resisted by the tobacco industry.

* Bill architect Tariana Turia wants tobacco use ended by 2025.