Last week the Ardern-Peters Government confirmed their transport policy with their finalised Government Policy Statement on Land Transport. This confirmation brings with it some major issues for motorists and commuters in Auckland.
The biggest issues are the two new taxes on fuel. A combination of the new regional fuel tax and new increases to the national fuel excise mean that we will all be paying more for petrol.
This is meant to go towards funding major projects in our region but we know that the funding for state highways has been cut by over $5 billion nationally. That means that projects like the East-West Link and a full upgrade of Mill Road are on the chopping block, but we are still paying more in taxes.
What’s worse, the final policy shows that most of the funding for new rapid transit projects has been pushed back until after 2023. That means that for all the talk about new trams to the airport they won’t really be on the cards for years. But we are still paying more in taxes.
In government, we were able to balance investment into transport with restraint when it came to taxes. We had a good record in this space, we abolished regional fuel taxes in 2009, cut taxes from the high levels of the previous government in 2010 and worked hard to ensure costs remained low while incomes rose by over $13,000 while we were in office.
We did all this while committing record investment into our regions’ transport services. Funding for public transport and highway projects reached unprecedented levels as we funded projects like the City Rail Link, the Waterview tunnel and the Western Ring route as well as the Roads of National Significance that linked our regions together.
Moreover, we committed to continue upgrading our transport network in Auckland by funding the Eastern Busway, Northern Busway improvements, a full upgrade of Mill Road and Penlink to help reduce congestion and boost economic growth.
We can invest in creating a state of the art transport system for Auckland and New Zealand and we don’t need new taxes to do it.
- Jami-Lee Ross is Member of Parliament for Botany