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Stubbing out tobacco smuggling and other changes

10.32am 24 May 2022 | News

The New Zealand Customs Service has been given a Budget boost to fight transnational organised crime groups trying to smuggle tobacco into New Zealand.

Customs has received $10.398 million, allocated in Budget 2022 over four years, to provide additional investigation and enforcement resource to further detect and disrupt these activities and dismantle the organised crime groups which are involved in these activities.

Customs Group Manager of Intelligence, Investigations and Enforcement Dana McDonald says, “Our additional focus on organised crime smuggling operations will send the message that we are watching them, we will prosecute them, we will dismantle their criminal groups and we will prevent them from undertaking their criminal business here in New Zealand.”

The Minister of Customs, Meka Whaitiri, said trends were showing that tobacco smuggling operations are now often very sophisticated and controlled by organised crime groups.

“We also know that, as measures in the Smokefree Aotearoa 2025 Action Plan continue to have an impact on smoking rates, there will likely be increased demand for illegal tobacco products,” Minister Whaitiri said.

The Minister also noted changes passed into law via the Customs and Excise (Tobacco Products) Amendment Act 2022, which standardise the way duty on water-pipe tobacco, also known as flavoured or shisha tobacco, is calculated in order to prevent revenue evasion and provide an incentive to reduce the harm smoking causes.

For more information view the Beehive media release.