Public question plan to up petrol tax

JENNA LYNCH
Last updated 05:00 19/12/2012

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The Government has announced plans to hike the price of driving, adding 9 cents a litre to the price of petrol by 2015, and Hamilton people say it's not cricket.

In each of the next three years, the Government will impose a 3 cents a litre rise to the excise tax component of petrol.

Norton Road Automotive owner Brian Jones said the Government is hitting consumers too hard with too many taxes, and it is unfair.

"They're taxing taxes on top of taxes," he said. "As a private enterprise, we'd get done for that."

Alert Group Waikato and Bay of Plenty regional manager Andy Collins said that both Red Cabs in Hamilton and Taxi Cabs in Tauranga would eventually have to pass this cost on to the customer.

"It certainly impacts on the bottom line for the owner-operators," he said. "We certainly would be looking at adjusting the fares, not straight away but further down the line. At the end of the day everyone's in business to make some sort of profit."

Mr Collins believed the Government was taking the easy way out by hiking petrol prices rather than looking at other options.

"I don't think it is fair . . . A toll or something like that could be a more equitable way of doing it.

"It certainly seems the easier option a lot of the time - putting on taxes," he said.

Hamilton resident Mike Gerrand said he also thought the Government should be looking at putting toll roads in place to pay for roads, rather than charging a larger percentage of people, the majority of which will not use the roads.

"I'd rather not pay for something that I'm not going to use," he said.

Each 1 cent added to the pump price of petrol adds about $15 to the annual running cost for the average motorist.

Transport Minister Gerry Brownlee said the excise tax rise, which will be matched by higher road-user charges on diesel, was required to deliver the roads of national significance (Rons), and maintain the value of the Land Transport Fund.

"These latest increases will also achieve that, and allow for continuing investment in the Government's state highway building programme and other transport projects," he said.

But Labour leader David Shearer said that Mr Brownlee and the National Party are out of ideas for reaching their surplus.

"National's promise on the surplus is too big to break. It has to get there. But it's forecast to get there with a razor-thin margin of just $66 million by cutting jobs, selling assets and raising prices at the petrol pumps," he said

Mr Shearer said the Government should not be rubbing salt into the economic wounds of our citizens.

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- © Fairfax NZ News

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