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Turia pushed for budget tobacco tax rise

Description: Tariana Turia said it was not for tobacco companies to determine the laws of New Zealand

Maori Party co-leader Tariana Turia says she advocated for higher taxes on tobacco in the Government Budget due on May 24 and she personally favours outlawing smoking completely in New Zealand.

“I’ll be very honest with you. I advocated that taxes should rise on tobacco,” she said on the Q+Aprogramme.

The associate health minister also says “we need to raise taxes on alcohol”.

The Government coalition partner wants to make New Zealand smoke-free by 2025, and is also taking a hard line against the gambling and alcohol industries.

The Government has agreed in principle to plain packaging of tobacco products to reduce their appeal and the public is being consulted on the move. Tobacco companies are challenging the policy in other countries, including Australia.

Asked if she wanted smoking outlawed, Ms Turia said: “I do. If I’m being really honest I don’t think that having a substance that kills people should be allowed to be sold”.

Currently about 650,000 New Zealanders smoke.

Ms Turia said it was not for tobacco companies to determine the laws of New Zealand.

Modelling by the Ministry of Health “is showing that we could be on pathway to NZ$100 a packet”.

“I know the Prime Minister doesn’t think that that is the way forward,” she said.

She said the Government’s alcohol reforms did not go far enough and the Maori Party would not be supporting legislation going through Parliament.

She also did not want any new pokie machines in New Zealand. The Government is considering allowing casino operator Sky City to have more pokie machines if it builds a new convention centre in Auckland.


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