The Dim-Post

April 28, 2010

Can the government’s drug policy get more schizophrenic?

Filed under: Politics — danylmc @ 7:34 pm

Via Stuff:

In a shock move, the Government has this evening taken Parliament into extraordinary urgency to pass a bill increasing tobacco excise tax by more than 33 percent over two years.

Tax on roll-your-own tobacco will also increase by 50 per cent over two years.

The Government expects the bill will be passed into law tonight with the price increases taking immediate effect.

“The move will put the price of cigarettes and roll-your-own tobacco up enough to save hundreds of lives,” said Associate Minister of Health Tariana Turia.

What will next week bring? Vitamin C as a class A drug? Ketamine in the drinking water? Anything could happen! It’s exciting!

My guess is there’s some other form of regulation or excise coming up in the budget, and they’re passing this seperately so that English’s masterpiece isn’t referred to as ‘the calvinist/nanny state/whatever budget’ (I wouldn’t be suprised to see an excise tax on RTDs – maybe that’s it?)


  1. They’re going to make folate illegal, in a move with full support from both the Greens and ACT. Labour will promise to repeal it if elected, but will vote for it anyway in order to improve Goff’s image.

    Comment by George D — April 28, 2010 @ 7:39 pm

  2. What’s the bet they’ve already seriously considered banning dihydrogen monoxide?

    Comment by scrubone — April 28, 2010 @ 7:41 pm

  3. oh scrub you are a card! a hallmark card.

    Comment by x-pat — April 28, 2010 @ 8:09 pm

  4. “(I wouldn’t be suprised to see an excise tax on RTDs – maybe that’s it?)”

    I would. Excise taxes work on the amount of alcohol in a drink – so an excise tax on RTDs (at 5% strength) would hit beer (and cider) as well. Kind of like how the move to tax “light spirits” more heavily caught port and sherry as well:

    You might instead think the Government is planning a special tax on RTDs … in which case, prepare for definitional hell to be unleashed.

    Comment by Andrew Geddis — April 28, 2010 @ 8:22 pm

  5. The Australians did it by taxing ‘premixed’ drinks – with mixed results . . .

    Comment by danylmc — April 28, 2010 @ 8:31 pm

  6. ^ if my understanding is correct when the aussies tried this suddenly all the RTD’s were “brewed” in order to avoid the tax

    Comment by somewhatthoughtful — April 28, 2010 @ 8:45 pm

  7. It is the sudden urgency that bugs me.
    The unannounced Sharples UN visit.
    The uncalled for “urgency” in the governments early days to get bits of its desired
    legislation through.
    Now this.
    It will certainly placate the Maori Party. (Who will not lose any votes from their smoking
    supporters, after all it was a pakeha national government wot did it.)

    This has the heady mix of ozone from the foreshore and seabed negs and whiffs of tobacco that could just divert peoples attention away from other thorny problems as well. Not very long away from a budget that is
    going to increase gst. What the hell do we do about alcohol abuse without offending most kiwis, who, like me drink more on a daily basis than than the health nazis think wise.The Nats OZ advisers are very very good. The only problems remaining are Brownlee, Tolley, Smith.

    Not bad.


    Comment by peterlepaysan — April 28, 2010 @ 8:46 pm

  8. peterlepaysan,

    There’s nothing particularly unusual about taking extraordinary urgency to up taxes on things like alcohol or tobacco, precisely to stop people stockpiling. Its what Labour did back in 2003 with respect to “light spirits”:


    True, the Aussies did tax “premixed drinks” back in 2008. This does appear to have significantly reduced the amount of RTD’s purchased (although straight spirit sales increased a bit). However, the booze industry has fought back by “launch[ing] Bolt, a “malternative” in three sweet flavours – raspberry, passionfruit and blueberry – designed to appeal to younger drinkers. Bolt will be up to $25 a carton cheaper than spirits premixes because it is made with alcohol derived from beer – with all the beer taste characteristics stripped out during production.”

    Comment by Andrew Geddis — April 28, 2010 @ 9:07 pm

  9. No, you’ve all got it wrong. They’re going to ban CO2.

    Comment by Gooner — April 28, 2010 @ 9:23 pm

  10. Pack of cigs is going to cost the same as a tinny. Good, I hope it encourages more people to give up tard-sticks and start smoking something good for them.

    Comment by Rangi — April 29, 2010 @ 3:27 am

  11. Gooner – hm, only too true. But I think our host agrees with that one 🙂

    Comment by scrubone — April 29, 2010 @ 9:19 am

  12. I was in Queensland Feb 2009, and I visted a suburban bottle store. The majority of the bottles of wine were between $4 and $16. Who needs RTDs with wine that cheap.

    Comment by R Singers — April 29, 2010 @ 3:01 pm

  13. Not schizophrenic. Did you mean multiple personality disorder?

    Comment by progger — April 29, 2010 @ 3:58 pm

  14. “There’s nothing particularly unusual about taking extraordinary urgency to up taxes on things like alcohol or tobacco, precisely to stop people stockpiling. Its what Labour did back in 2003 with respect to “light spirits”:

    Labour even did it with Road User Charges, worried that truckies would “stockpile” RUC. In hindsight, the gummint’s cashflow could have done with the boost to cashflow from RUC stockpiling.

    Comment by Clunking Fist — April 30, 2010 @ 12:56 pm

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