Anti-tobacco troughers really are stupid


Yesterday the Taxpayers’ Union fired out a release pointing out the blindingly obvious High Taxes Developing Underground Tobacco Market.

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 Chronicle report on local growers exchanging crops on Facebook, Executive Director of the Taxpayers’ 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.”

This followed an article in the Wanganui Chronicle about Homegrown crops being sold online where smokers are turning to tobacco growers to get cheap smokes.   

With public health troughers all moving into the new game in town (and a new funding river) called obesity, tobacco may have had its day in the sun.

Or has it?

A quick Google search of ‘tobacco Motueka’ brings up some interesting links. One is from a blog called The Humidor Report – Legendary tobacco farms of Motueka and was posted about a year ago.

“This farm had about 5 acres of plants growing and looked like it was close to being ready for harvesting. One could surmise from the scattered outbuildings and sheds, derelict but still functioning farm machinery that this must have been buzzing with labourers only 30 years ago…

So why did Customs officers seize more than two tonnes of uncut tobacco leaf from this property 5 years ago? It’s murky legal waters to try and navigate here in this brief post, but it is legal to grow up to 15 kilograms of tobacco a year for personal use. Customs excise duty must be paid when the raw cured leaf is manufactured, or cut. Perhaps 2 tonnes is deemed more than personal use? Past tense- let’s move forward. It’s just cool to see one last maverick using his own land, and just for fun, growing a bit of New Zealand history for all who care to stop and have a look.”

If you ever wanted to see an example of why public health troughers, particularly those in tobacco control in New Zealand, are dead-set useless then take a look at this Virtual 360 tour of the tobacco plants on this Motueka farm.

The troughers in ASH and the likes of serial tobacco control trougher Shane Kawenata Bradbrook have blinkers on, pretending this sort of thing doesn’t happen in little old New Zealand.

What’s even more laughable is the so-called goal of a Smokefree 2025 for New Zealand when you can grow 15 kgs of tobacco for ‘personal use’.

That 15kg is equivalent to 300 pouches of RYO. With a 50g pouch of RYO costing about $77 down at the local dairy, it’s no wonder people are looking at ways to get cheaper smokes.

All this constant trougher bleating for plain packaging and higher tax increases comes to naught when down the road you can hook yourself into as much tobacco leaf as possible.


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As much at home writing editorials as being the subject of them, Cam has won awards, including the Canon Media Award for his work on the Len Brown/Bevan Chuang story. When he’s not creating the news, he tends to be in it, with protagonists using the courts, media and social media to deliver financial as well as death threats.

They say that news is something that someone, somewhere, wants kept quiet. Cam Slater doesn’t do quiet and, as a result, he is a polarising, controversial but highly effective journalist who takes no prisoners.

He is fearless in his pursuit of a story.

Love him or loathe him, you can’t ignore him.

To read Cam’s previous articles click on his name in blue.