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Double whammy for low income families

Belinda Vernon MP National Transport Spokesperson

16 December 2001

Double whammy for low income families

Low-income families will be the hardest hit in the New Year if the Government increases petrol tax and bans the importation of used cars which don't meet new frontal impact standards, says National's Transport spokesperson, Belinda Vernon.

"The new frontal impact standards, due to come into effect from 1 April, will effectively stop the importation of used cars built before 1996. The average price of an imported used car could go up from $10,000 to $15,000, putting a car upgrade out of reach for many New Zealanders.

"Add to this the Government's proposed petrol tax increase and ordinary New Zealanders are hit with a double whammy.

"An increase in petrol tax is on the cards with the Government refusing to release official transport documents on the grounds that they would disclose decisions to change policies relating to taxation.

"The Government is putting its hand into the pockets of New Zealanders, without putting its hand into its own. It should match any increase in petrol tax by putting into roading some of the petrol tax it already collects, but hijacks for non-roading expenditure.

"The new frontal impact standard is typical of the Government's 'we know best' attitude to New Zealanders.

"Motorists nowadays place increasing importance on safety features in cars. They weigh up safety, price and other demands on their pocket before deciding what is best for them. Who is the Government to judge their decisions - or to take their choice away?

"Instead of improving road safety, the frontal impact standard could have a negative effect as people defer upgrading their vehicles and older vehicles stay on the roads longer," said Ms Vernon.

Ends

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