$50,000 Fine. Please pay immediatelyVolcanoes in New Zealand have been grumbling at the Government’s constant annual walloping of smokers of raising prices by 10% every year. Volcanoes consider themselves original inhabitants of New Zealand, and have been smoking for hundreds of years, with occasional outbursts of fire and brimstone when under pressure.
Although things have been rather quiet over the past decade, there are signs of an uproar among human and natural smokers, that raising prices every year is a deliberate loot disguised in self-righteous PC-ism.
In an article published by Newsroom, and republished by Stuff It, the annual tax wallop has put a lot of pressure on smokers who have been addicts for decades, and the cracks are beginning to show. Smokers feel they have been singled out by the Government as a soft target. The main reason for this, is that there is no cigarette lobby in New Zealand to argue or ‘fund’ their case, because no tobacco products are made in New Zealand, unlike the cash-flushed booze lobby. And yet it’s a no-brainer that more New Zealanders are affected through drunken behavior, drink-drive accidents and tragic fatalities than members of the Puffers Club.
The Government has defended its tax grab as a noble mission to make New Zealand smoke-free by 2025. In other words, why kill the goose that lays the Golden Egg with a tax component that is now nearly 83 per cent?
The net result is that the Government collects nearly $2 billion in taxes from addicted smokers, while spending a measly 3 per cent of the money on actively helping them to quit, as reported in Stuff It in December 2017. Of course, the Government has put the balance 97% of the revenue to good use.
According to a Reliable Fake News source, the tax loot has helped pay for the formation of some 171 Hot Air Committees which are deemed necessary because the Government can’t make hard decisions quickly but must follow due process. Also, committee recommendations could be dumped if they serve no favorable political purpose.
A case in point is the formation of a Select Committee to debate Global Cooling when New Zealand becomes hopefully smoke-free in 2025. After all, if there’s no smoke, there’s no fire, and without fire there’s no heat, and without heat there will only be a chill. Which puts finis to the existence of all smokers (including rumbling volcanoes) if they happen to break the law by puffing in no-smoking zones such as offices, malls, cafes, cars, supermarkets, aircraft, airports, neighborhood parks, libraries and in sheds behind school buildings.
It, therefore, comes as no surprise that the local Council investigated the wisps of smoke seeping from some cracks in the Mt Eden volcano which threatened the pristine atmosphere of Eden village (according to the Legal Official Complaint by residents and shop owners).
This triggered a rapid response without the customary formation of a Committee (saving taxpayer dollars). However, the Council hurriedly spent $ 9974.60 of taxpayer money on a 30-meter banner that read: $50,000 Fine. Please pay immediately. The banner was tacked alongside one of the smoking fissures of the Mt Eden volcano with the intent to highlight the breach of the no-smoking ban and make a threatening implication to all other smokers.
The wisdom of such a bullying action against a revered and hitherto dormant cone proved counter-productive and very costly in the clean-up that followed.