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53 % of businesses oppose regional petrol tax

53 per cent of businesses oppose regional petrol tax

The extent of business support for a regional petrol tax at 47 per cent shows the lengths Auckland business is prepared to go to relieve traffic congestion, the Employers & Manufacturers Association (Northern) says.

Local government is enthusiastic about such a tax to fund accelerated road building and EMA wanted to test the level of business support for it through a survey of members.

But 53 per cent of those surveyed (426 businesses) are opposed outright to a regional petrol tax.

"Normally any business support for a regional petrol tax would be very surprising," said Alasdair Thompson, EMA's chief executive.

"Of the 47 per cent prepared to support it, most would only do so if it were pitched no higher than between 10 to 15 cents/litre.

"Only 6 per cent supported a regional petrol tax over 15 cents/litre.

"The results surprised us. They indicate the true cost of traffic congestion to individual businesses, and how much they are prepared to pay to achieve faster deliveries and ease staff travel time.

"The cost of $1billion a year for traffic congestion around Auckland is now likely to be conservative.

"Local government is seeking a full toolbox of funding options to bridge the $2.4 billion funding gap required for Auckland transport over the next decade.

"EMA opposes a regional petrol tax as it would discriminate against Auckland businesses and would be the most economically distortionary.

"Rather than a regional petrol tax, EMA supports tolling Auckland's existing motorway network and congestion tolling as well as tolls on new roads.

"Importantly we support increasing the tax on petrol nation-wide provided all the additional funds raised are used to build roads and provided Auckland gets at least its fair share.

"In its present form the Land Transport Management Bill won't help address Auckland's road congestion and trust the Select Committee will amend it to achieve its purpose."

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