excise tax

Sam’s tax increase has sparked a crime wave

Sam Lotu Iiga was all proud as punch when he beefed up tobacco taxes.

Perhaps he won’t be so pleased as a crime wave sweeps across the nation all because of increased taxes.

Dairy owners are fortifying their businesses as the lucrative black market for tobacco fuels a wave of commercial break-ins.

Burglars have targeted up to 20 cigarette retailers – predominantly dairies and service stations – in about the last fortnight in Christchurch, making off with thousands of dollars worth of tobacco products.

Police have launched an investigation dubbed Operation Smoke as they try to catch those responsible. They are yet to make any arrests, but have some suspects.

A dairy owner, who did not want to be identified, said thieves smashed through the wooden backdoor of his business in south Christchurch, about 1.30am on September 24.

They used a crowbar to open a locked cabinet inside and stole about $10,000 worth of tobacco products.   Read more »

Turns out that National is the smoker’s friend

Marijuana-pot-smoker-via-AFP

Tobacco will go up by 10 per cent a year for four years from January 2017, driving the price of a pack of cigarettes to $30 from about $22 now. But Budget documents show the Ministry of Health had asked for a sharper increase.

It had wanted an immediate Budget night increase followed by a further four annual increases of 12.5 per cent from January next year. Anti smoking groups such as Aspire 2025 have called for 20 per cent annual increases.

However, Ministers opted for Treasury’s lower 10 per cent figure despite Treasury saying it would not be enough to achieve a goal of being smokefree by 2025. Read more »

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Winston says we’re paying too much for our petrol. Is he right?

New Zealand First is questioning the Government over why 91 Unleaded is 63% higher than in 2004, when crude oil has crashed to 2004 price levels.

“The government is ripping off drivers and truckies and must be held to account,” says the Rt Hon Winston Peters.

“As crude oil falls back to 2004 prices, why are petrol and diesel prices at the pump nowhere near what they were in late 2004? And given crude oil is set to fall even further why doesn’t the price at the pump reflect that?

“AA Petrolwatch tells us that in late 2004 and January 2005, the average nationwide pump price for Regular 91 was $1.13 to $1.19 a litre, with Premium Octane fuel 5-6 cents more. Read more »

Plain packaging an abject failure in Australia, consumption and illicit tobacco increases

Anti-tobacco advocates here are still pushing for Sam Lotu Iiga to implement a plain packaging regime like Australia. This is despite the fact that there is still an ongoing WTO court case and worse that there is no evidence to suggest it is working.

In fact the evidence, produced by KPMG, suggests the opposite, that plain packaging is contributing to an increase in consumption and illicit trade.

THE BILLION dollar illicit tobacco black market has hit a record high as Australian smokers baulk at the price of legal cigarettes.

Criminals are exploiting the high price of legal smokes to make massive profits by smuggling in cheap tobacco from overseas.

Last year 14.5 per cent of all tobacco consumed was illegal, according to a new report.

The Illicit Tobacco in Australia 2014 report states nearly 2.6 million kilograms of illegal tobacco was consumed last year alone with the tobacco black market rocketing by 30 per cent since 2013.

The report by KPMG, commissioned by the world’s biggest tobacco companies, concludes the black market costs the Federal Government $1.35 billion in lost taxes.

The black market boomed during a period when the government increased tobacco excise by 25 per cent.

Legal cigarettes in Australia are among the most expensive in the Asia Pacific region, costing about seven times more than in countries such as China or South Korea.

John Gledhill, managing director of tobacco giant Philip Morris Limited, said: “The government’s excessive tobacco regulations are providing incentives for the black market.

“As cigarette smuggling continues to grow in Australia the government must enforce the law and prosecute people caught selling illicit tobacco.”

Read more »