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Road user charge loophole exposed

Belinda Vernon National Transport Spokesperson

14 March 2002

Road user charge loophole exposed

Drivers facing a 30% rise in road user charges from 1 April 2002 can dodge the increase due to a loophole in the legislation, says National's Transport spokesperson Belinda Vernon.

"Road users can avoid the full effect of the 1 April increase in road user charges for vehicles under 4 tonnes by purchasing their road user charges before that date.

"There is currently no limit on how many kilometres can be purchased, the only limit is a road users ability to pay. This means the only people to miss out will be New Zealanders on limited incomes who financially will be unable to take advantage of this loophole. Labour is again penalising the very people it purports to represent.

" The loophole has come about due to the Government removing the need for road users to apply for a new road user licence within one month of a change in road user charges.

"Because the Government has foreshadowed the increase people can actively subvert the RUC system by purchasing more kilometres before the 1 April date.

"The Associate Minister of Transport listened to the debate and did not rebut the loophole proposition which means she does not care that those on low incomes miss out.

"Under the current law road users have to refund unused kilometres and purchase at the new rate. However, the change currently being debated by Parliament will remove that requirement.

"Labour has introduced this legislation under urgency when it could have dealt with the issue in normal time last year. The legislation is not going to a select committee. As a result the opportunity for errors and loopholes is significant.

"This is the third piece of legislation that the Minister of Transport has introduced with a shortened consideration time. He is making an art form of abusing parliamentary process,' said Ms Vernon.

Ends

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