New Zealand First is calling on the Government to explain why it allowed vast quantities of cigarettes to be imported and stockpiled at the end of 2012 so they could be re-exported overseas and increased taxes claimed back by the tobacco industry.
Revenue spokesperson Andrew Williams says the tobacco industry plan will see it make big tax gains following the 10 per cent increase on tobacco tax which came into effect on January 1.
“'They were even chartering planes at huge expense to fly cigarettes into the country and stockpiled in warehouses to meet the 31 December deadline. That's how lucrative this scheme is,” Mr Williams says.
“The Government has not picked up on the loophole which will see companies stand to make tens of millions of dollars for doing nothing. They won't even have to sell the cigarettes in New Zealand.
“Soon they will be on ships back to Asia while New Zealand taxpayers will be paying out large tax rebates to these operators.
“The Ministers of Revenue and Customs need to quickly step in and seize the merchandise pending investigations, and close the tax rort that is being peddled under their noses,” says Mr Williams.