Shane Jones: “market forces haven't led to the expected reduction in Māori smoking rates”

New Zealand First MP Shane Jones says it's time to recognise market forces haven't led to the expected reduction in Māori smoking rates and try a new approach.

The Party had recently invoked the agree to disagree clause in their Coalition Agreement with the Labour Party, and will not support a further 11.46 per cent increase in tobacco excise from 1st of January 2020.

Mr Jones says the last annual increase resulted in just a 0.7 per cent decrease in smoking prevalence, or a 1.3 per cent decrease among Māori smokers, indicating the policy has reached its limit.

He says says the annual hikes were a legacy of Mana MP Hone Harawira's Māori Affairs Select Committee inquiry into tobacco control, which were then picked up by then associate health minister Tariana Turia and finance minister Bill English.

"I think Bill saw it more as a revenue-generating device and in that regard, he's been incredibly successful. What Winston is actually saying is that this is the final of the price increases in relation to a duty and it is time now to take stock because in the key target areas cigarette smoking has not gone down," Mr Jones added.

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