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Highway Robbery

28 February 2002

"The Government has short-changed motorists with its hike in petrol tax and road user charges," says National's transport spokesperson Belinda Vernon.

Ms Vernon says while petrol tax and road user charges will increase by $227 million, roading infrastructure will get just $94m.

"That's highway robbery in anyone's language.

"The Government has imposed an extra tax without legislation to deliver its promises of how it will be spent. It claims this petrol tax hike will ensure crucial roading projects will proceed, but does not say which ones.

"It's living up to its reputation of being long on rhetoric and short on substance."

Ms Vernon says the so-called land transport package is nothing more than promises of things to come - but there is no delivery.

"It talks about tolling, but there's no sign of the necessary legislation.

"It talks about public/private partnerships, but there's no legislation.

"It talks about electronic road user charges, but, again, there's no legislation.

"The Government claims all the increase will go to the National Roads Fund and not to the consolidated fund. But it has expanded the scope of the National Roads Fund so that this extra tax does not, in fact, go into new roads.

"Road users already resent the fact that the majority of petrol tax they currently pay goes nowhere near roads. Now the Government is stealing the money that is supposed to go to new roads as well. It's a con," Ms Vernon says.

Ends

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