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Cigarette Hikes Hit Poor Voters Hardest

By substantially increasing the price of cigarettes and tobacco Labour has hit hard the people who put them in power - the working class people, who are big smokers in our society, says Opposition Pacific Island Affairs spokesman Arthur Anae.

"History has shown that people on low incomes who smoke cigarettes will find it hard to put that luxury aside. Children will be the only losers as they end up going without.

"The Labour-Alliance Government passed this increase under the guise of concern for the health of New Zealanders. There is no doubt my mind that the tax increase is just a way to get more revenue to enable the government to balance their Budget in a few of weeks time.

"If this Bill was rammed through because of health concerns, why did they not accept National's calls for these extra funds to be used for cessation programmes? Labour forced the House into Extraordinary Urgency to hit the very people who supported them below the belt - Maori, Pacific Island, working class people, and the young who are taking on smoking at alarming rates.

"What will be next on their hit list? Will they put more tax on petrol, then claim we need to keep cars off the road because of congestion? Will they further increase tax on alcohol, and continue to hike up tobacco tax?" Mr Anae said.


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