The Australian government has welcomed news that New Zealand will soon follow its lead and adopt plain packaging for cigarettes.

The New Zealand government has announced plans to introduce plain packaging laws by the end of the year, with the changes to take place in 2014.

Federal Health Minister Tanya Plibersek said she was "absolutely delighted" by the move, announced on Tuesday.

Australia is the first country to introduce plain packaging laws for cigarettes, which came into effect on December 1 last year.

"Plain-packaging laws mean tobacco companies cannot use their products as mobile billboards, a successful marketing technique when it comes to recruiting young people as smokers," Ms Plibersek said in a statement.

Attorney-General Mark Dreyfus said Australia was proud of its world-first packaging reforms.

"We ... congratulate New Zealand for standing up for the health of its citizens," he said.

The Cancer Council of Australia said the New Zealand government's announcement was a "very encouraging development".

"In the two months since the laws were introduced in Australia, we're seeing signs that plain packaging may exceed our expectations on encouraging established smokers to quit as well," chair of the council's tobacco issues committee, Kylie Lindorff, said in a statement.