High Taxes Developing Underground Tobacco Market
29 MARCH 2016
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
The Taxpayers’ Union is saddened but not surprised that New Zealanders are turning to the underground and unregulated homegrown tobacco market in response to the Government’s continued hikes in taxes on smokers. Reacting to the Wanganui Chroniclereport on local growers exchanging crops on Facebook, Executive Director of theTaxpayers’ Union, Jordan Williams, says:
“In Australia high tobacco taxes have led to an underground trade being run by organised crime. It looks like the same problems are starting to take ahold here, under the legal cover of ‘home-grown’ supplies.”
“These are cigarettes with no health warnings, no regulation and without the usual controls preventing tobacco being made available to children.”
“If continued increases in tobacco tax simply cause more home-grown and illicit tobacco to become available, the desired health benefits vanish. As outlined in our report published in January, a far better measure would be to legalise e-cigarettes, which are far less harmful than traditional cigarettes.”
With the latest tax hike, smoking costs more than $7,000 a year if you buy a pack a day. Of that around 80% is tax.