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ACT Forces Tobacco Tax Backdown

ACT Leader David Seymour has welcomed the Associate Health Minister’s backdown on tobacco taxes.

"Just two weeks ago, Jenny Salesa was neglecting her basic ministerial duties by not answering written parliamentary questions on tobacco taxes. I had to highlight this in a press release in order to get some answers.

"She eventually answered by saying she didn’t believe smokers were paying too much tax, she hadn’t asked for advice on the unintended consequences of tobacco taxes, and she wouldn’t review tobacco taxes.

"Now, in a complete reversal, the Ministry of Health will commission an evaluation of the unintended consequences of tobacco taxes, such as an increase in crime, including illicit trade, as well as the financial impact of smokers and their families.

"While this is a welcome development, it has come far too late for the hundreds of retailers that have been the victims of brutal crimes, and New Zealand’s poorest families who are having $178 million in additional tax taken from them.

"Salesa should stop flying by the seat of her pants, move desicively, and repeal the Nats’ brutal tax increases on smokers”, says Mr Seymour.

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