Saturday, 28 July 2018

Tariana Turia's Legacy

Smoke Free New Zealand by 2025

We have written numerous times about the idiocy of the NZ government declaring that New Zealand will be ciggie free by 2025.  The mechanism to bring this about is steep increases in the price of the deadly evil every year until they will become more expensive than a pot of gold. 

The Force behind this utopian dream was the Maori Party, and in particular its uber-mothering leader, Tariana Turia.  Columnist Barry Soper writes:
The Māori Party will have done a lot of reflection as to why it's no longer in politics. The answer's pretty obvious, they didn't represent the wishes of their people even though they felt they had their best interests at heart.

Their former co leader Tariana Turia, a fierce advocate for all things Maori, wanted better health for her people and one of the best ways to do that she believed was to stop them from smoking, setting silly target of a smoke free New Zealand by 2025.  As the target became more elusive, Turia wanted to ban tobacco products, to make them illegal. When that failed they began pricing them off the market.

The only thing that's achieved is making Maori poorer along with their Pacific cousins who remain the heaviest smoking groups by far in the country - 35 per cent of Maori adults smoke and a quarter of Pacific people are addicted.  The number of people smoking may be marginally dropping, mainly for health reasons but not it seems for the crippling cost.

Excise tax on tobacco has been increasing by ten percent a year since 2010, add inflation to that and of course 15 per cent GST and ciggies have become a luxury item, which of course they're not.  The Government takes 85 percent on each $35 pack of cigs in excise tax alone. [NZ Herald]
There is a growing industry, however, involving tobacco and cigarettes.  Burglaries at corner convenience stores have multiplied beyond our wildest expectations.  Stealing ciggies is now a very profitable line of criminal business.  Storekeepers has been assaulted, hit, abused, spat upon, and had their very lives threatened as the criminal hordes sweep through neighbourhoods.

When government do-gooders and bureaucrats and politicians enter into the lists in a crusade to make us all righteous the unintended consequences are usually overlooked.  In this case they are particularly vicious.  Rumour has it that Tariana Turia has been canonised amongst New Zealand's (Maori) criminal gangs.  At least something positive has come out of this utopian mess.

The leader of the NZ First party, Winston Peters has stood up in public to decry the folly of the "smoke free" policy.  He says he is going to be reviewing the madness.  But the Finance Minister, Grant Robertson says no.
So Winston Peters says the Government is now looking at whether the annual increases in excise tax on tobacco is achieving its purpose and he's adamant on that, it isn't, it's just making people poorer. They'll consider that, he says, before the next increase is due in January.  But Grant Robertson has said there are no plans to reverse the annual increase in tobacco tax.  If you want any more confirmation on who controls this Government's purse strings you'll again find out then!
It may turn out to be an interesting little stoush. 

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