Maori don't want smoking tax - Winston Peters

MATT STEWART
Last updated 15:50 18/07/2012
tdn winston
ANDY JACKSON
WINSTON PETERS: New "Maori middle-class" are imposing smoking tax on ordinary Maori.

Relevant offers

Politics

Government changes will have "almost no impact" on medium term immigration: ASB War veteran's epic pension fight has taken its toll, the 80-year-old's daughter says Nick Smith reflects on 'small reduction in responsibilities' after cabinet reshuffle Peter Dunne: Unified fire agency will emphasise flexibility Cabinet reshuffle sees Waikato get two more minsters Brownlee already in diplomatic mode Gerry Brownlee exits Christchurch a controversial, contrary figure Brownlee gets foreign affairs, but Smith's demotion on drip-feed Red Cross nurse in the line of fire Christchurch reacts to Gerry Brownlee relinquishing rebuild job

Winston Peters has criticised the anti-smoking lobby and Maori leaders, saying ordinary Maori are being saddled with a massive tax on smoking most of them don’t want.

The New Zealand First leader, who is a smoker, was speaking at this morning's Finance and Expenditure Select Committee hearing on the Customs and Excise (Tobacco Products- Budget Measures) Amendment bill, which proposes four annual 10 per cent tax hikes on tobacco products.

Submitters including the Smokefree Coalition, West Coast Public Health, the Maori Party and the University of Otago public health department backed a 40 per cent tobacco tax rise over the next four years followed by at least 20 per cent over the following three years.

Mr Peters said ordinary Maori had not been consulted by "the new Maori middle class" and iwi leaders over the tax that would ‘‘thump’’ low income Maori with extra costs.

Mr Peters also questioned why the Japanese lived so long and have low rates of heart disease and stroke when they have the world’s highest smoking rate and said obesity was the main health concern for Maori, not smoking.

Maori Party co-vice president Ken Mair said Mr Peters was being "unhelpful and nonsensical" by putting obesity ahead of smoking-related illness

After the hearing the Smokefree Coalition’s Dr Prudence Stone said Mr Peters was presenting a "classic smoker’s argument" and was looking for a "magical promised land for smokers" where scientific research did not apply. The committee's report on the amendment is due back in September.

Contact Matt Stewart
Email: matt.stewart@dompost.co.nz
Twitter: @smatape

Ad Feedback

- The Dominion Post

Comments

Special offers
Opinion poll

Where do you stand on political coat-tail riding?

If it gets marginalised voices into Parliament, I'm for it.

I'm against it - if you don't get the votes, you shouldn't be there.

It's just part of the political game.

Vote Result

Related story: Voters reject riding on the coat-tails

Featured Promotions

Sponsored Content