New Zealand First has invoked the “agree to disagree” provision of our Coalition Agreement with the New Zealand Labour Party to oppose the planned 11.46% increase in tobacco excise from 1 January 2020.
Not only do we believe tobacco excise increases have reached the limit of their effectiveness, but that their unintended consequences have become intolerable.
The legislated 10 percent year-on-year price rises are fuelling crime, with Customs seeing a 352% increase in interceptions of smuggled cigarettes at the border in the past 4 years.
Dairy owners are also living in fear of further price hikes. The 165% increase in tobacco excise since 2010 has caused a spike in robberies of dairies and gas stations around the country, with cigarettes being targeted for illegal on-sale.
Not only have they left in their wake a flourishing black market, they are also hurting our society’s most vulnerable. We know these regressive taxes disproportionately affect the poor and gouge the Maori and Pasifika communities who can least afford them.
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