“Tomorrow’s tobacco tax hike represents yet another betrayal of NZ First supporters by the Party’s leader and shows Winston Peters has had his day”, according to ACT Leader David Seymour.
“In July 2017, less than two months before the last election, Peters said: ‘The first thing we’re gonna do is make sure cigarettes are not massively overtaxed like that and bring them back to reasonable value.’
“But by tomorrow, Kiwis will have faced three 10 percent tax increases under a government propped up by NZ First.
“With an election just around the corner, Peters now claims that NZ First will ‘agree to disagree’ with the Government’s tobacco tax hikes, but this does nothing to prevent tomorrow’s increase from coming into effect.
“Has Peters forgotten that he’s the Deputy Prime Minister? Saying he doesn’t like the tax, but failing to do anything about it, is nothing more than virtue signalling.
“At the last election Peters had dozens bottom lines, most of which disappeared into the ether as soon as he became Deputy Prime Minister.
“Peters has taken voters for granted countless times. He’s had his day.
“In April, he betrayed the firearms community by voting for the rushed Arms Amendment Bill. He’s once again forgotten the promises he made to his supporters by failing to repeal a punishing tax on New Zealanders.
“Tobacco tax costs Kiwis about $2 billion each year, but it hasn’t significantly reduced smoking rates. It has, however, encouraged hundreds of brutal attacks on and robberies of small retailers around the country.
“The latest round of tax increases will also take about $178 million out of the pockets of the poorest New Zealanders – about $1000 more per smoker, per year – preventing them from buying basics like food and clothes.
“Smokers already pay more in tax than they cost the rest of the community.
“Politicians’ grand government scheme to eliminate smoking altogether – Smokefree 2025 – has created a range of unintended consequences. Despite commitments to reduce the cost of living and crime rates, politicians like Peters remain addicted to tobacco tax revenue and, as a result, have made both worse.
“The one innovation that could have a serious impact on smoking rates is vaping, but Labour plans to ban vaping flavours and advertising. The coming crackdown on the single most effective smoking cessation tool available may be Labour’s stupidest policy yet.”