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Extra Petrol Tax An RMA Levy

The new 4 cents/litre petrol tax said to be needed to solve Auckland's traffic congestion problems is a tax to compensate partly for the inefficiency of the processes of the Resource Management Act, the Employers & Manufacturers Association (Northern) says.

"The rest of the country will no doubt label it a tax for Auckland," said Alasdair Thompson, EMA's chief executive.

"But it is just as much an RMA inefficiency tax.

"An analysis of the Transfund's road funding to the Auckland region from the National Roading Fund shows Auckland has been getting less than half of its entitlements for years.

"Last year Auckland motorists paid about a third ($433 million) of the National Roading Fund's total income of $1.2 billion in petrol excise tax, road user charges and motor vehicle registration fees.

"Just 37 per cent of that ($162 million) was spent on the region's roads.

"The practice amounts to Auckland subsidizing road transport developments in the rest of the country. Auckland's road users pay proportionately more than they ever see invested locally.

"This sort of failure has been evident for years, well before the term of the current Government.

"But taxing road users another 4 cents/litre to untangle the red tape of Government's own making won't work for long because the tax doesn't address the financial gerrymander at the heart of the problem.

"The traffic congestion around Auckland would never have got to the present impasse if the consent processes of the RMA were working properly.

"Transport Minister Mark Gosche said recently 'Grafton Gully took six years to process from scheme assessment to approval,' and the project will take a further three years to build - most of the approvals time was lost through delays in gaining consents.

"Meanwhile Transfund has said it allocates its funds ultimately where it can actually get on and build and maintain roads - 'do-ability' ranks above other considerations because it has to allocate its annually renewable funds during the same year.

"When road projects are held up through ridiculously lengthy consent processes, such as waiting three years for an Environment Court hearing, Transfund builds roads somewhere else.

"Now that catch up time cannot be delayed any longer, Government decides to tax us all to pay for its delays in implementing road funding reforms, plus the delays caused by inordinately drawn out RMA processes.

"Transfund should be reviewed, and the resource consent processes in the RMA overhauled. Anything less will not unplug the system's congenital blockages."

Ends

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