Brown: Petrol tax continues to drive up the cost of living

As I meet with people across the Pakuranga Electorate, I am constantly told about the impact the Government is having on the back pockets of New Zealanders by forcing up the price of petrol through increased petrol taxes.

The cost of living is increasing in New Zealand, with petrol and rents reaching record levels and electricity expected to follow; this is all a direct result of ill-thought through Government policies.

It’s particularly bad for hardworking taxpayers in Auckland, who were already facing record high fuel prices thanks to the regional fuel tax, which has further pushed up our everyday costs.

When National was in Government we were able to invest in major new roading projects throughout Auckland without a regional fuel tax while keeping the cost of living down. The Waterview Tunnel is just one example.

Our ambitious transport agenda was one that didn’t require the Auckland Council to impose new taxes. We expected them to tighten their ever increasing spending while we kept our own books in order with strong budget surpluses.

The national fuel price is currently averaging $2.40 a litre for 91, around half of which is already tax. This is a huge increase from just a year ago, when in October last year the national price was only $2.069. This means for everyday families it now costs an extra $20 to refuel their car.

This month the Government rolled out another petrol tax – the first of its three 4 cents per litre national fuel tax increases, pushing the fuel price even higher. Further tax increases are planned for 2019 and 2020.

Transport Minister Phil Twyford has argued that people on low incomes will be less affected, but he has ignored the fact that they spend a greater proportion of their income on petrol. This means tax increases have a bigger impact on their ability to pay the bills at a time when the cost of living is already skyrocketing.

And if all this wasn’t enough, ACC has proposed a 12.1 per cent hike in the motor vehicle levy for road users, including an almost 2 cents a litre increase for petrol.

The question has to be asked – when will all these additional costs stop?

National is committed to sound economic management, supporting hard-working families, and repealing the regional fuel tax if elected back into Government.

Simeon Brown
Member of Parliament for Pakuranga