Extraordinary Urgency for ciggies, nothing for the booze
$17 a packet: Parliament socks smokers
A huge increase in the price of cigarettes and tobacco was bulldozed through Parliament last night by Maori Party co-leader Tariana Turia in a move designed to cut the 5000 smoking-related deaths each year. All MPs except four of the five Act members supported the surprise move under extraordinary urgency. It was announced just before 5pm and passed all its stages 118 votes to 4.
So tobacco tax can be rammed through under urgency, alcohol tax however is shut down before the ink has even dried on that proposal.
My guess is the Government will rise drinking to 20, won't increase tax, will have 4am shut down, won't decrease booze from dairys or supermarkets. It's like they will do all the stuff that will please conservatives but not the things that will actually go a long way towards decreasing the harm alcohol causes.
Rather than challenging the liberalization of access to booze and it's cheap pricing, they will have a go at youth drinkers by raising the age and late night venues, it's at the fringes stuff rather than the really big changes like price and supermarket/Dairy access.
I support harsher regulation of ciggies and booze and broadly agree with the policy direction but what a huge leap backwards on marijuana with the bullshit raids on Switched on Gardner which are abusing the powers given Police to seize resources through a much lowered evidential threshold from beyond reasonable doubt to balance of probabilities.
These unbelievable powers sold to the public as going after 'da gangs, da gangs' were not decried by anyone as they didn't seem to understand what was happening, Christ I watched one TVNZ journalist excitedly exclaim on the news that the Police had 'shifted the goal posts' (she even went to the rugby field to use the metaphor and kicked a ball at the goal posts). The right wing who are usually such whiney little bitches when it comes to property rights didn't murmur at all when the Police lowered the evidential threshold to seize your assets, so conned were they that the law would only be used against da gangs, well it hasn't, it's been twisted into having a go at SOG and given a ridiculously broad brief to arrest anyone who bought or sold anything at SOG in order to seize their assets.
Marijuana needs heavy handed Government regulation, not bullshit prohibition. If this is the game the Police want to play, how about a campaign outing Police Officers who are smokers to show how hypercritical they really are.