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Tobacco Tax was just another swindle

Tobacco Tax was just another swindle

The Government has refused to boost resources for tobacco cessation and health promotion despite hitting smokers with an extra $200 million in taxes each year, Labour Associate Health spokesperson Iain Lees-Galloway says.

“Smokers and anti-tobacco groups alike will be disappointed that the Government has cynically used a public health initiative to help make up the gap in revenue left by tax cuts that only benefit the very wealthy and leave a massive hole in the health budget,” Iain Lees-Galloway said.

"When Labour MPs spoke in support of the tobacco excise tax increase, we stated that we would be watching the budget very carefully to see if the Government is serious about helping smokers to quit. Clearly it is not.

“If the Government was serious, Bill English would direct the windfall revenue towards programmes we know help reduce the number of smokers in New Zealand.

“A price increase is a great incentive to encourage people to give up smoking, but as well as the price increase we need to make sure the services that aid smokers to give up are in place.

"This is just another part of National's tax swindle. Many smokers could have been helped with that money but instead a few people get big tax cuts.

“Reducing the number of smokers means in the long-run health services have to treat less people with smoking related diseases and this should be a priority for any Government serious about improving the health its population.

"This is a kick in the guts for smokers and the people working alongside those who want to quit,” Iain Lees-Galloway said.

ENDS


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