Road Torque News

Bits of Bollocks: Regional Fuel Tax
Posted: 07-Apr-2018 |


This week in bits of bollocks we will take a cross-section of the current debate around the intended Regional Fuel Tax that will be imposed on New Zealand in coming months and cut through the nonsense.

1. Fuel Excise is not a Tax

For the first misleading bit of bollocks in the regional fuel tax debate we look no further than the 'distinction' – or lack thereof - between excise and tax. Jacinda Ardern has argued aggressively in parliament and to the NZ media that the RFT is excise not tax. This is a distinction that simply doesn't exist, excise is synonymous with tax.

Furthermore, Ardern has argued that the government have not broken any campaign promises, during which they were very vocal about not introducing any new taxes.

Although fuel excise is not 'new' and has indeed fluctuated from government to government it is certainly a tax increase and it would be misleading to state otherwise.

2. The bill has a clear focus

The bill that is currently going through the necessary parliamentary motions seems to be rushed, much to the detriment to interested parties and those looking for transparency in the early days of the bill. The draft does not even define a purpose of the bill, perhaps to cover the extent of the RFT.

3. The extra burden is placed only on Aucklanders

One large worry for motorists and businesses not only in Auckland but across the country is 'cost spreading' by distributors says RTF boss Ken Shirley.

"We have variable regional prices now and in some cases the regional price variations are greater than the proposed additional excise. The fuel distributers could greatly mask the RFT and while Auckland Council would get their $150 million/year the recovery would in fact come from a much broader source if not countrywide," says Shirley.

4. The government hates roads and the vehicles that use them.

I think one would be hard pressed to say that the government hates roads as Newstalk ZB presenter Mike Hosking claims.

Roading makes up 78% of transport funding over the next 10 years according to the government's policy statement. The money; however, will be spent in other areas of

road transport and the 'roads of national significance' that have not yet begun development will be scrapped.

Along with this, Labour intends to open up the Land Transport Fund to transport alternatives not just roads and bridges which it has traditionally been used for.

These are the policy initiatives that people should spend their time debating constructively.

5. The Government only cares about Auckland

This notion that the current government only cares for Auckland again has sprung up from the scrapping of the Roads of National Significance programme set up by National.

The best one can do in this case is to look at the budget spend Labour intends for regional transport.

Labour plans to spend $530 million on regional transport Initiatives, to National's $425 million. It will spend $2.1 billion on state highway maintenance, to National's $1.98 billion.

Labour differ significantly in the realm of motorway improvements again, key in this is the scrapping of the RONS scheme. National's intended spend was $4.6 billion to Labour's $3.85 billion.

While many are rightly upset about the many flaws and fallacies presented by our politicians debate is better fought with facts, not bollocks.


Search Articles

NZ Truck & Driver Magazine
Read Now