2 May 2012

PM not ruling out increase in tax on tobacco products

7:00 pm on 2 May 2012

Prime Minister John Key is not ruling out another increase in the tax on tobacco products.

The excise on cigarettes and tobacco has risen by about 30% in the past two years, with three incremental increases.

Maori Party co-leader and associate health minister Tariana Turia says raising the price of tobacco products again is the best way to reduce smoking and prevent people from starting.

The party wants smoking banned in New Zealand by 2025 and Mrs Turia's lobbying resulted in three separate increases of about 10% each for cigarettes and pouch tobacco since 2010.

Mr Key was questioned on Wednesday about whether this year's Budget will include another rise in the excise.

He did not rule it out, saying the tax increases have been good for raising revenue and reducing the number of people smoking.

Mr Key says the Maori Party has been lobbying hard, but a decision will be revealed when the Budget is delivered on 24 May.

Tariana Turia says she has not been told if there is going to be another increase in the excise.