17 Sep 2009

Turia victorious: cigarette tax set to rise

4:18 pm on 17 September 2009

The Associate Health Minister, Tariana Turia, says she has won her battle for a big increase in cigarette tax in the next budget.

Earlier this year, the Ministry of Health investigated two major tobacco companies over claims they had acted illegally when they dropped the prices of their products.

One in five New Zealanders between the ages of 15 and 64 smokes, and the rate is more than double for Maori.

Mrs Turia, who is also the co-leader of the Maori Party, says she has convinced the National Party caucus to significantly lift taxes on both cigarettes and roll-your-own tobacco products.

She says she is also pushing very hard for a ban on displaying tobacco products in shops.