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Fuel Tax Hike Will Stifle Regions

28 February 2002

"The Government's move to impose a hike in fuel tax will stifle the regions," says National's Regional Development spokesman Tony Ryall.

Mr Ryall says the likely 4-5 cent increase in petrol prices and 30 per cent hike in road user charges will work against the regions.

"Everything coming in and going out of the regions is going to cost more and these cost increases will have to be borne by the consumers and producers in the regions.

"Just how will this move reconcile with Jim Anderton's claims about developing the regions?

"Perhaps Mr Anderton would like to go to places like Southland, Manawatu and the Bay of Plenty and explain why people there should be funding cycleways in Auckland."

Tony Ryall says the paltry amount $30 million that's been allocated to the regions - compared with the $227 million extra that will gouged from the motorists by these fuel tax increases - is an insult.

"This package fails to address the real issue that is holding up new roading developments - the RMA - because Labour can't afford to upset its new coalition partner the Greens."

"National does not believe people in the regions - or anywhere else - should be forced to fund the Greens' loopy pet projects and we would repeal this unfair tax increase," Tony Ryall concluded.

Ends

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