New Zealand First's getting fired up over what it sees as a double standard in the Government's anti-smoking agenda.
It's criticising legislation that proposes further hefty increases to tobacco taxes
Leader Winston Peters is scathing that the Government takes in one point three billion dollars in tobacco tax revenue but only spends four percent of that sum on smoking cessation programmes.
"It would start to give some credibility to the integrity of parliament and those people who want to attack those people who do smoke, if there was some transparency between what they collect and anti-smoking education programmes. But there's not. It's a pittance, what's being applied."
Smokers now have the New Zealand First party in their corner.
New Zealand First's gone into bat for smokers in its minority report on legislation that aims to hike tobacco taxes.
Leader Winston Peters accepts smoking is harmful and it supports sensible steps to discourage smoking.
But he says it isn't illegal yet tobacco users are now heavily penalised for the privilege of smoking.
"A lot of those people, (do) not have well income, they're lowly paid, and what New Zealand First says (to) the Maori Party is 'this shows how out of touch you are with the working class people of New Zealand, whose income is pretty strained now'."
Photo: Winston Peters (New Zealand Herald)