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And One Makes Twenty

And One Makes Twenty

An extra 5.6 cents a litre petrol tax is another sorry example of the government's obsession with finding new ways to harvest cash, said Charlie Pedersen, Vice President of Federated Farmers of New Zealand (Inc).

"Almost four years to the day after taking office, the Labour coalition has passed another milestone -- announcing today its 20th new tax," Mr Pedersen said.

"Government MPs may see this as reason to pop champagne corks, but ordinary New Zealanders are punch drunk after being whacked by so many new taxes," he said.

The fuel tax increase is the second under Labour's term of office. In February last year it hiked up the excise by 4.7 cents a litre.

"The increase will boost the total amount taken by the government at the bowser to 52.9 cents a litre, a ridiculously huge amount," he said.

Of the total fuel excise, 20.8 cents is taken for the consolidated fund rather than targeted spending in transport-related areas such as roading and accident insurance.

"Creaming a further 5.6 cents a litre from farmers and other motorists when so much cash is sloshing around the consolidated fund suggests that the government has gone tax mad," he said.

Ironically, the new tax came on the same day the government announced an operating surplus in the first four months of the fiscal year of $1.76 billion -- triple the amount expected in the last Budget

More galling is that the increase comes as farmers' incomes fall as a result of the rising New Zealand dollar. The high cost of fuel is hurting them and all New Zealand motorists.

"If the government is serious about preventing road deaths, it should spend all the money it takes from road users on roading," he said.

Twenty Tax Increases since December 1999.

1. Income tax increased from 33% to 39% for those earning more than $60,000

2. Fringe benefit tax up from 49% to 64% ,

3. Trust income tax up from 19.5% to 33%

4. Resident withholding tax - deduction rate on interest and dividends from either 19.5% or 33% to 39%

5. Tobacco tax - increase in the average cost of a packet of cigarettes from about $7.20 to $8.20

6. Petrol tax up 4.7C including GST, plus 30% increase in road-user charges for diesel vehicles

7. Import fee - $16 on all imported commercial goods for goods with a GST liability of more than $50

8. Petrol- ACC levy increased from 2.3c to 5.08c per litre

9. Alcoholic beverages - the so-called sherry tax - increasing cost from $21 to $38 a litre for beverages with 14-23% alcohol content

10. ACC levies -self-employed levies increased 40% and wage earner levies increased from $1.10 to $1.20 per $100 of income

11. ACC motor vehicle levies-motorbike levy increased by 57%; car ownership increased 14% and new levies on non-petrol driven vehicles such as service vehicles increased from $176.10 to $221.31

12. Birth, death and marriage certificate fees increased by 42.9%

13. Driver licence renewal fees increased from $29.50 to $44.30

14. Fire service levy, household levy increased by 17.70/0 and increase in motorists' levy of 17.7% collected by insurance companies.

15. Fishing licence fee increased by 10%

16. Cattle slaughtering levy increased up to 50% per head of slaughtered cattle

17. Export education levy - a $185 charge to institutions per foreign fee-paying student plus 0.45% of their tuition and course fees

18. Fund withdrawal tax - 5% tax on withdrawals of employer contributions to superannuation schemes for those earning above $60,000. 19. $20 million export security fee slapped on traders, including $8 million raised from exporters. 20. 5.6 cents a litre fuel excise tax.

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