New Zealand’s Tobacco Tax Tango: A Half-Price Sizzle for Six Months

Table of Contents

Hold onto your hats, folks! The New Zealand government has just announced a temporary twist in the tale of tobacco taxes. In a surprising move, the powers that be have decided to give certain tobacco products a half-off pass on excise taxes from July 1, 2024, to December 31, 2024. Let’s dive into the nitty-gritty of this unexpected, yet intriguing, fiscal fiesta.

Decrees That Pack a Punch

On June 27, 2024, the announcement came in hot, with not one but two decrees shaking up the tobacco world. The Tariffs (Specific Tobacco Products) Amendment Order 2024 and the Excise Duty and Excise Duty Equivalent Tariff Schedule (Reduction and Exemption of Certain Tobacco Products) Amendment Order 2024 sound like mouthfuls, but their mission is simple: slash those taxes! Governor-General Dame Cindy Kiro and the Executive Council, led by His Excellency Christopher Luxon, were at the helm of this decision-making extravaganza.

The first decree, the Tariffs Amendment Order, is like the opening act of a concert – it sets the stage. This order focuses on refining the tariffs applied to specific tobacco products, ensuring they’re categorized correctly. No more blanket rules; it’s all about precision. The second decree, the Excise Duty Amendment Order, is the headliner. It brings the house down by halving the excise duties and equivalent taxes on certain tobacco products. It’s like a tax cut but with a twist of lemon and a dash of fiscal spice.

From Puffs to Policy – The Reasoning Behind the Revision

Why the sudden change? Well, it’s not just about giving smokers a break. The New Zealand government is keen on better managing and classifying heated tobacco products. Think of it as Marie Kondo-ing the tax policy closet – it’s all about finding what sparks joy (or in this case, fairness and transparency). By adjusting the tariffs and excise duties, the government aims to ensure that the tax system is not only equitable but also crystal clear.

This policy tweak also reflects a broader trend towards acknowledging the evolving landscape of tobacco products. Heated tobacco products are not quite your granddad’s pipe or your uncle’s cigars; they’re the tech-savvy, gadget-loving cousin of the traditional cigarette. By differentiating these products more accurately in tax terms, New Zealand is setting the stage for a more modern and fair approach to tobacco taxation. It’s a bit like updating your phone’s operating system – necessary and ultimately for the better.

Six Months of Smoky Savings

From July 1, 2024, to December 31, 2024, tobacco aficionados will find their wallets a bit heavier and their smoking habits a tad less taxing. With excise taxes temporarily halved, it’s almost like the New Zealand government is hosting a half-year-long Black Friday sale for tobacco products. Of course, this isn’t a carte blanche for a smoking spree, but it does provide some financial relief for those who partake.

But let’s not get carried away; this is a temporary measure. Like all good things, it has an end date. Come January 1, 2025, the excise taxes will revert to their former glory. So, it’s best to enjoy the savings while they last and maybe, just maybe, consider this an opportunity to explore heated tobacco products if you haven’t already. After all, they’re the reason behind this tax tango in the first place.

The Executive Council’s Encore

The Executive Council, chaired by Christopher Luxon, has certainly made a bold move with this policy update. By implementing these decrees, they’re not just fiddling with numbers; they’re setting a precedent for how tobacco products are managed and taxed in the future. It’s a calculated risk, but one that could pave the way for more nuanced and effective tobacco control policies down the line.

This decision also shines a spotlight on the role of the Governor-General, Dame Cindy Kiro, in the legislative process. Her approval underscores the significance of these changes. It’s a reminder that behind every decree and amendment, there are leaders thoughtfully weighing the pros and cons, aiming to strike a balance between public health, fiscal responsibility, and market fairness. It’s governance with a touch of flair, and we’re here for it.


In a surprising turn of events, the New Zealand government has decided to temporarily halve excise taxes on certain tobacco products from July 1, 2024, to December 31, 2024, as part of two new decrees aimed at better managing and classifying heated tobacco products. Announced on June 27, 2024, by Governor-General Dame Cindy Kiro and approved by the Executive Council under His Excellency Christopher Luxon, these decrees – the Tariffs (Specific Tobacco Products) Amendment Order 2024 and the Excise Duty and Excise Duty Equivalent Tariff Schedule (Reduction and Exemption of Certain Tobacco Products) Amendment Order 2024 – are designed to ensure fairness and transparency in tax policies. This six-month fiscal reprieve not only offers financial relief for tobacco users but also sets a precedent for future tax policy adjustments. Stay tuned as this news unfolds, revealing the impact of this bold move on New Zealand’s tobacco market.

Scroll to Top