30 Apr 2010

Call for boost to quit programmes

9:04 pm on 30 April 2010

The Maori Party says it will be calling on the Government to spend some of the millions of dollars it will reap from a new tobacco tax on programmes to help smokers quit.

In a surprise move on Wednesday, the Government increased the excise on cigarettes by 10% and the tax on loose tobacco by 24%.

With further rises planned for the next two years, the tax increase is expected to reap more than $200 million a year in extra revenue.

Maori Party MP Hone Harawira, whose party has been pushing for the tobacco tax rise, says its next goal will be to persuade the Government to put the cash into quit-smoking programmes.

However, a spokesperson for Health Minister Tony Ryall says it will be up to individual service providers to apply to the Health Ministry for more funding.