Tim Walker’s Smoke II

The price of cigarettes has increased and according to those with the power, ‘will continue to increase until they are simply, unaffordable’.

This is an interesting choice of words because for many New Zealand citizens the Government made cigarettes unaffordable a number of years ago yet, after a lifetime of partaking in what is still a totally legal and in fact what used to be considered normal practice, these destitute taxpayers are unable to break the addiction that comes with heavy tobacco consumption…

Therefore what the New Zealand Government is effectively doing with its ‘continual cigarette price-hikes’, is penalising the good, honest and hard-working sector of the Kiwi population whose only real mistake was to stumble into tobacco’s reassuring embrace at a young age and where now, 50 or perhaps 60 years on, those clutches are so firmly embedded in these good, honest taxpayers’ way of life that, impoverished as cigarettes might well be rendering them, the compulsion of tobacco addiction has greater sway.

…Meaning that the few remaining hardy smokers in the land – tradesmen, healthcare professionals, even war veterans – despite playing a vital role in the prosperity of this great nation, will end up paying a significantly larger tax bill than the rest and for what gain – essentially for the right to do as they please..?

What began as an effort to make New Zealand cleaner, greener and ultimately more smoke free than ever has, I believe, become an easy way for our Government to reap tax revenue…

As per so many television advertisements, people are now driving more lawfully, using electricity more wisely, boozing more responsibly and of course, buying cigarettes more reluctantly than ever so it makes sense that, as predicted in past post, Future of Smoking, the New Zealand Government is realising that its tax-giving cash-cows are drying up, and taking evasive measures…

It wouldn’t surprise me if, recent ACC surplus notwithstanding, the Government soon re-evaluated and re-elevated the cost of car licensing to cover that shortfall, too.

…It’s been said by many: ‘if the Government is that much against smoking they ought to just illegalise it outright’ – but of course they can’t do that, not yet anyway.

There’s still a generation or two of smoking-related illness to come in yet.



Article by Tim Walker

Edited by Tex Raven-Yoo

Photography by Hal Thacker


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