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Tobacco Ban Makes Tax Cuts Useless For Retailers

27 MAY 2007

Tobacco Ban Will Render Tax Cuts Useless For Retailers

The country’s small retailers will gain no benefit from any Government tax cut if Damien O’Connor’s proposed controversial ban on tobacco displays becomes law.

Stay Displays, a coalition of 200 retailers and more than 7,000 supporting individual voting New Zealanders, is deeply concerned by recent figures that a proposal to ban retailers from displaying the tobacco products they have on sale will cost the collective retailers’ community in the region of $45 million to implement.

“The average earner might get $16 a week extra with tax cuts, but retailers will have to pay out much more for the retrofitting of their shops. This amounts to giving to the small retailers with one hand, but taking far more with the other,” Murray Gibson, a Stay Displays Coalition representative, says.

“The tax cut will account for nothing when each retailer will have to spend anywhere up to $6000 to retrofit their stores to comply with the proposed legislation. New Zealand retailers just cannot afford to pay for these costs at a time when our economy is beginning to crack.”

“Individual retailers will find complying with any ban on tobacco displays extremely expensive to implement at a time when they and their customers are tightening their belts with high food and fuel costs, rising rates and an economy heading into recession,” Mr Gibson said. “It’s time to knock this ridiculous idea on the head. Retailers are responsible and want to work with the Government to find effective ways of reducing youth smoking, but bans that only penalise retailers and do nothing to reduce smoking are not the way forward.”

The proposed ban on retail displays of tobacco products has originated from do-gooder anti-tobacco lobby groups who think they know what’s best for our community. These lobby groups receive hundreds of thousands of dollars from the Ministry of Health to invent new ways to stop people from smoking. While the Coalition is willing to support sound endeavours to stop people from smoking, this proposal to ban displays of tobacco is not based on sound evidence and has been shown not to work. Evidence collated from countries including Iceland and Canada, after bans such as these become law, is not conclusive and in some cases has shown an increase in the smoking rates among young people.


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