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Cigarettes stockpiled: NZ First

New Zealand First wants the government to explain why vast quantities of cigarettes were allowed to be imported and stockpiled at the end of 2012.

Revenue spokesman Andrew Williams says the tobacco industry stands to make big tax gains by re-exporting the cigarettes, 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 said.

"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."

Customs Minister Maurice Williamson was not available for comment.