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Baldock: Government taking Kiwis for a ride

Media Statement For immediate release Tuesday, 28 January 2003

Baldock: Government taking Kiwis for a ride

Kiwi road-users are being taken for a ride by the Government, United Future transport spokesman Larry Baldock said today.

"There's really no other way to put it. The fact is the people of almost every region in the country will pay twice as much in petrol excise tax, road user charges and motor vehicle licensing fees this financial year than they will get back to build and maintain the roads they drive on," Mr Baldock said.

"And it's getting worse: the imminent ACC hike of 2.7c a litre of petrol is going to take millions more out of the pockets of Kiwi motorists," he said.

In figures released today, the Tauranga-based MP said the motorists from almost all regions faced a huge deficit between what they paid to the Government, and what they got back for their roads.

"The Government takes some $207 million dollars more from Auckland road-users than it hands back for their chaotic road network; Wellington motorists get back some $73.3 million less than the they pay in these taxes and charges, while Canterbury drivers are even worse off, getting back $180.6 million less than they contribute.

(Auckland $527 million out, $320 million back for roads; Wellington $169 million out, $95.7 million back for roads; and Canterbury $254 million out, $73.3 million back for roads.)

"And if you head to the regions, it doesn't get any better: My area, the Bay of Plenty, gets $79.4 million less than it contributes to the Government's coffers.

"I've said it before and it still holds: the Government has got to start directing more of the money taken from road users back into the country's roads, and put less of it into the Consolidated Fund.

"This is not a financial resource issue, it is a distribution issue, pure and simple," Mr Baldock said.

The only area of the country where motorists will get more road-funding than they pay to the Government in petrol excise tax, road user charges and motor vehicle licensing fees is the West Coast, which will come out $4.8 million ahead.

"It seems the only way to get a fair go on the roads is to go and live in Greymouth," Mr Baldock said.

Ends.


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