The Auckland Regional Fuel Tax has been labelled “a political sham” by the Road Transport Forum NZ chief executive Ken Shirley as he called for the market around the country to be opened up to cheaper competitors.
Mr Shirley told TVNZ1’s Breakfast that while the falling NZ dollar and global geopolitical issues meant oil prices fluctuated, many parts of the country still pay more than Aucklanders at the pump despite the 11.5 cents a litre tax in our biggest city.
“The whole Auckland regional fuel tax is a political sham, it’s done for political reasons to make it appear that the revenue is coming out of Auckland but in fact we all know it’s being spread across the whole country and this is just living testimony of that,” Mr Shirley said.
“Many parts of the country are paying 20 cents more than the market up there (in Auckland) so we do get fuel tax spreading, regional variations, that’s not surprising.”
Mr Shirley said if you lived south of “a line roughly from Masterton to Levin” you paid a lot more because Gull is not in the market in the lower North Island and South Island, something he wanted to see change.
“Because we don’t have Gull in the market in those areas, therefore you pay more because the competition is less,” he said.
“I’d like you to see Gull have better access to the southern North Island and the South Island to make sure those pencils are kept as sharp as possible.”
He rejected the AA’s suggestion that GST be dropped from fuel, but said that taxes made up 40 per cent, or a $1 of current fuel prices, and motorists should be concerned about what that revenue was being spent on.
“We’re now going to see road user and motorist taxes which previously had being going in to improving the highways being diverted into other uses.”
“Now that’s a first and it is a concern, there’s actually been an 11 per cent cut in the highway budget in the government policy statement for NZTA.”