WELLINGTON, New Zealand – Smokers and polluters in New Zealand will get hit with higher taxes as part of the government's economic plan.
The government on Thursday released its annual budget, forecasting that rising fiscal surpluses in coming years will allow it to begin paying down its public debt.
The government plans to hike tobacco taxes by 46 percent over the next four years as it continues an ambitious campaign to eliminate smoking from the South Pacific nation by 2025. Once the taxes are in place, a pack of 20 cigarettes will cost about 30 New Zealand dollars ($20).
The government also announced it would end a subsidy for polluting businesses that it had introduced after the 2008 global financial crisis. New Zealand is aiming to reduce its greenhouse gas emissions by 30 percent.