The Customs and Excise (Tobacco Products-Budget Measures) Amendment Bill was passed at its third reading yesterday. This will increase the price of tobacco by a cumulative 10% for each of four years. Scoop reports:
Associate Health Minister Tariana Turia said lifting the excise duty would reduce smoking rates especially amongst younger people who were sensitive to price signals.
Turia said by 2016 the average price of a packet of cigarettes would rise to more than $20 and would make smoking unaffordable for many.
This was backed by all parties on a voice vote.
There was some opposition to removing tobacco prices from the Consumer Price Index calculation:
She defended taking tobacco prices out of the CPI indexing calculation for benefit increases saying it would not make sense to help fund smokers when trying to increase the cost of tobacco to them.
New Zealand First, the Greens and Mana opposed this in a party vote (98-23).
It’s worth pointing out that UnitedFuture leader Peter Dunne supported these measures. From time to time I’m confronted with accusations he is financially backed by ‘big tobacco’ and opposes all measures to reduce tobacco use. These claims are either ignorant of facts or blatantly making mischief.