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Tobacco Hike Bill Progresses With Unanimous Support

Legislation to hike the price of cigarettes made progress with unanimous support in Parliament today.

The Customs and Excise (Tobacco Products-Budget Measures) Amendment Bill will make four cumulative 10 percent increases to the duties on all tobacco products between now and 2016.

Chester Burrows said the bill intended to increase the price of tobacco through lifting excise tax.

Burrows said price increases were shown to work both by preventing people starting and giving smokers a financial incentive to give up as the price of an average packet of cigarettes would rise to $20 by 2016.

He said the Government was not insensitive to the costs imposed on those who do not want to or could not quit, but there was state assistance to help them

New Zealand First opposed the bill in select committee but MP Andrew Williams said today the party would not oppose the bill as it would decrease smoking rates.

However NZ First believed the bill was a sop to the Maori Party and would hurt low income smokers the most to prop up the balance sheet instead of going towards smoking prevention.

The bill completed its second reading on a voice vote.

Earlier the National War Memorial Park (Pukeahu) Empowering Bill Completed its second reading by 105 to 15 with Greens and Mana opposing.


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