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When is a new tax not a new tax?

Maurice Williamson National Party Transport Spokesperson

1 March 2005

When is a new tax not a new tax?

National's Transport spokesman, Maurice Williamson, says that today on Morning Report, Customs Minister Rick Barker confirmed that the extra 5c per litre petrol tax was in fact a new tax.

An incredulous presenter asked him: 'So this is a new tax really, this is a sort of roading infrastructure tax isn't it?'

Mr Barker responded: 'That's exactly right.'

"Mr Barker has since retracted that claim, saying now it is not a new tax, but that won't fool hard-working New Zealanders," says Mr Williamson.

"What makes this whole issue totally farcical is that the Government's road-funding agency, Transfund, finished the 2004 financial year with a surplus of about $230 million. National is concerned that this new tax will also lie idle in Transfund's coffers.

"Labour is continuing to amass a huge election-year war chest with a surplus of more than $6 billion, while only about half of the petrol excise is actually dedicated to roading and the rest goes into the Crown Account.

"The fact that he is announcing this new tax after oil prices hit a four-month high of US$52 a barrel overnight just adds salt to the wound of New Zealand motorists," Mr Williamson says.

ENDS

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