He [Peters] told the committee that new levies on cigarettes would "thump the pockets" of poor Maori.
"I wonder how many Maori are behind you on this issue?" he asked Maori Party vice-president Ken Mair, whose party was pushing the tax rises.I've no particular reason to argue with the official estimates on the number of people killed by tobacco use, but Winston's right about the burden of the tax. As I'd summarised from the O'Dea report:
The O'Dea report said that even a 50% increase in tobacco prices would see 36,990 non-quitting Decile 1 households each spend an extra $928 per year while an estimated 4,110 quitting Decile 1 households would save $2,981; the poorest cohort then winds up spending a net extra $22 million in tobacco excise while decile 10 households spend a net extra $31 million.O'Dea goes on to argue that because poorer people might then be less likely to take up smoking, the longer term effect could wind up being progressive. But it's pretty obvious that there would be rather strong negative effects on those households that continue to smoke.