Council pushes through tax despite opposition
Denise Lee - Local Government (Auckland)
1 June 2018
The Auckland Council is clearly not listening to Aucklanders after making the decision to push forward with the Regional Fuel Tax despite the clear public opposition, says National’s Local Government Auckland spokesperson Denise Lee.
“Councils and Governments are supposed to make decisions on behalf of those who elected them, but Auckland Council has shown through this entire process that they were going to push the tax through irrespective of public opinion.
“In an attempt to get a mandate for the fuel tax the council held a shortened and ill-timed consultation process meaning that the public had limited ability to provide quality submissions. Despite this, each round of consultation showed the strengthening of public opposition.
“The February Colmar-Brunton poll the mayor is relying on for support has now been overtaken by a May update from the same company showing the tide has turned. Now both public polls and real ratepayer submissions show strong opposition.
“Contrary to what has been claimed by some members of the Council the decision is not between the fuel tax or living with congestion. The issue is not whether to fund Auckland’s transport infrastructure, but who will fund it, and there are clear alternatives to a regional fuel tax that are more equitable and less of a financial burden.
“Mayor Goff promised to find between 3 and 6 per cent of savings in the Council budget. If they could find 4 per cent this would provide the entire revenue of the fuel tax, but it seems they are unwilling to take the responsibility.
“Instead the majority of Council have chosen to impose new taxes on Aucklanders which could cost them hundreds of dollars a year.
“It seems that the Council is more concerned with implementing Labour Party policy than taking realistic steps to keep their savings promises.
“Public confidence in Council is already fragile, and for them to dogmatically push through this tax without winning the battle for public support will only increase this vulnerability.”