Video | Agriculture | Confidence | Economy | Energy | Employment | Finance | Media | Property | RBNZ | Science | SOEs | Tax | Technology | Telecoms | Tourism | Transport | Search


Customs seize largest haul of illicit tobacco to date


28 November 2018

Customs seize largest haul of illicit tobacco to date

New Zealand Customs investigators have smashed the country’s largest-scale illicit tobacco operation with more than 1.8 million cigarettes and $2 million in cash seized last week.

Imperial Tobacco New Zealand’s General Manager Sam Abbott applauded the successful operation by Customs. “The seizure, estimated to be worth $1.8 million in lost excise, supported research released earlier this year from KPMG UK about the scale of illicit tobacco trade in the country.”

“The independent research found the total illegal tobacco consumption was around 9 per cent in 2017 in this country. If this illicit tobacco had been sold legally it would have generated about $182 million in tobacco excise for the Government. That lost revenue could have supported development of infrastructure, roads, hospitals and the general economy,” he said.

Mr Abbott said eight years of consecutive tobacco excise increases had contributed to the illicit trade.

“The illicit market will continue to grow as further 10% annual increases on tobacco excise drive the legitimate market retail prices higher,” Mr Abbott said.

The latest operation started six months ago when Customs officers suspected a company of smuggling cigarettes inside sea containers. An inspection found 340,000 cigarettes hidden inside 12 metal cabinets. Customs investigators then carried out search warrants at multiple Auckland addresses, locating around 1.5 million cigarettes and five garbage bags filled with cash.

An Auckland businessman was arrested by Customs investigators at Auckland Airport last Wednesday 21 November 2018, as he attempted to depart the country. The arrested man was charged with defrauding Customs revenue. Further charges and more arrests are likely.

Mr Abbott said the operation highlighted how much needed to be done to prevent the illicit trade growing.

“This problem can no longer be ignored. We congratulate Customs on their success and their inter-agency approach but this seizure is the tip of the iceberg and we encourage the government to continue tackling this issue.”

Link to KPMG UK Report:

© Scoop Media

Business Headlines | Sci-Tech Headlines


Grey Power: Is Disappointed To Learn Of More Bank Closures

Many older people are being left without essential services because of cost cutting and the march of modern technology. It is now expected that most banking transactions can occur via the internet or telephone. Jan Pentecost, President of the Grey Power ... More>>


Economy: Supply Chain On Brink Of Overload Says National Road Carriers

The New Zealand supply chain is on the brink of overload and it looks like the upcoming peak imports season may push it over the edge says National Road Carriers Association (NRC) CEO David Aitken. “Worldwide supply chains are in disarray,” says Mr Aitken. ... More>>

Retail: Supermarkets Announced As Government’s Second Market Study

The Government has today launched a market study to ensure New Zealanders are paying a fair price for groceries. More>>


Statistics New Zealand: Retail Sales Recover In The September 2020 Quarter

Retail sales values recorded the largest September quarter rise since the series began in 1995, Stats NZ said today. Spending on major household items, vehicles, and groceries contributed to the strong 7.4 percent ($1.8 billion) rise in total ... More>>

Kea Aerospace: New Zealand Flies Into The Stratosphere

Development has started on a solar-powered, unmanned aircraft that can fly in the stratosphere continuously for months at a time. The zero-emission aircraft will carry a suite of imagery equipment that will be game-changing for many industries, vastly ... More>>

Stats NZ: Births And Deaths: Year Ended September 2020

Births and deaths releases provide statistics on the number of births and deaths registered in New Zealand, and selected fertility and mortality rates. Key facts For the year ended September 2020: 57,753 live births and 32,670 deaths ... More>>


Forest & Bird: Kākāpō Wins Bird Of The Year 2020

The nation has voted and Aotearoa New Zealand has a new Bird of the Year. New Zealand’s moss-colored flightless parrot has climbed to the top-spot for the second time in Forest & Bird’s annual Te Manu Rongonui o Te Tau/Bird of the Year competition. ... More>>