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National backs Commerce Bill, wants fuel tax axed

National backs Commerce Bill, wants fuel tax axed

National will support the Commerce Amendment Bill that imposes a market studies regime, but wants the Government to axe fuel taxes hurting Kiwis in the back pocket right now, National’s Commerce and Consumer Affairs spokesperson Brett Hudson says.

“The Government has made clear it will require the Commerce Commission to focus on fuel for its first market study. We’ve never opposed minister-initiated market studies, having developed much of what this Bill contains, but we do object to studies initiated by the regulator without ministerial oversight.

“National wants to ensure New Zealand has competitive markets that allow consumers to get the best value for money but is wary of giving unfettered powers to the regulator

“The Prime Minister rushed forward this Bill after being spooked by New Zealanders’ reaction to its fuel tax hikes on top of record high petrol prices. But the Government should acknowledge market studies will offer no immediate relief to households and businesses hurt by high prices at the pump.

“These sorts of studies can take the best part of a year and will eat into the Commerce Commission’s budget. Market studies shouldn’t be embarked on lightly because they impose a real cost and market impost on small businesses across New Zealand.

“For example, some 1200 of New Zealand’s 1500 service stations are owned by small businesses.

“Meanwhile, New Zealanders are paying more every day at the pump, which is driving up the cost of living. The fastest way to provide relief would be for the Government to dump its fuel taxes and put a halt to those that are planned for the next two years.”

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