OPINION: Petrol tax increase first part of ‘Wellbeing’ Budget

Two weeks ago the Government handed down its much heralded ‘Wellbeing’ Budget.

Despite its name, the Budget does little to actually improve the well-being of New Zealanders and of those living in Pakuranga. Yes the Budget provides much needed additional funding for mental health, but other than that there is little else to point to which improves the lives of hard-working New Zealanders.

In fact, the first piece of legislation passed as part of the Budget was an increase to the petrol tax of 4c per litre for motorists, which will take effect from 1 July this year and then again on 1 July next year.

These tax increase come on top of those that motorists have already faced under this Government, with petrol tax increases imposed last year in addition to the Auckland Regional Fuel Tax.

Motorists in Pakuranga are soon going to be paying 20c more per litre every time they fill their car up compared with when National came to office. This has a real impact on the everyday lives of New Zealanders as people seek to pay the bills and make ends meet.

Alongside increases in petrol taxes, rents have also increased on average by $50 per week in Auckland, as has the cost of living across the board.

The Budget has also failed to address problems like our slowing economy, with the recent Household Labour Force Survey showing a net loss of 4000 jobs so far this year. Compare that with the last two years under National, when the same survey told us businesses were creating 10,000 jobs every month.

Combine all the above with a debt increase of $17 billion, 13,000 more Kiwis on the benefit, triple the demand for emergency housing, and a failing KiwiBuild policy among many other concerns, and you have a government found severely lacking when it comes to the well-being of New Zealanders.

The real test of well-being is whether people are actually better off, and right now that certainly doesn’t appear to be the case.

  • Simeon Brown MP for Pakuranga