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Smoking report backed by failed taxpayer-funded lobby group

MEDIA RELEASE

Uninspiring ASPIRE 2025 smoking report backed by failed taxpayer-funded lobby group

2 AUGUST 2017
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Not only does today’s release of ASPIRE 2025’s report into the progress of Smokefree 2025 do nothing to support harm-reduction, or support emerging products like e-cigarettes, the report is also funded by QUIT Group, who last year were criticised for wrongfully holding on to $3 million of taxpayer funds, after it ceased to operate the now Government run Quitline service.

Reacting to the report, Taxpayers’ Union Executive Director Jordan Williams says, “The annual 20% tax-increases and additional 15% tax on roll-your-own tobacco proposed by ASPIRE 2025’s report would play directly into the hands of criminals developing black markets in tobacco. We are already seeing the impact of this with the spike in dairy robberies in the past two years.”

“Smokers have become the political punching bag over the decade, with the current Government hiking excise taxes nearly every year. They are collecting more and more money under the guise of health concerns. That's put real pressure on low income New Zealanders, despite the international trend that emerging technologies are the best way to kick the habit.”

“Our report, Passive Income: How the Government uses Smokers as Cash Cows, shows that government tobacco excise income is already at least three times the cost of smoking to our health system. We specifically warned of the black market and crime which is now prevalent."

“The Ministry of Health is wasting tens of millions of dollars on ‘sock-puppet’ tobacco groups that aren’t actually helping smokers quit, but use taxpayer money to lobby the Government. The financial-backer of ASPIRE 2025’s report, QUIT Group, were found last year to be wrongfully holding on to $3 million funding after it had ceased to operate. It now seems that the money has been funneled into campaign efforts to politicise the issue less than two months out from an election.”

"QUIT Group need to pay back the taxpayer money they've misappropriated before they get on their moral high-horse. They are using money given for the purpose of providing quit services to advance a political campaign. That is wrong."

ENDS


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