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Stop Ripping Off Motorists

4 December 2003

PR 246/03

Stop Ripping Off Motorists

It is time that the Government and fuel companies stop viewing motorists as captive cash cows, says Charlie Pedersen, Vice President, Federated Farmers of New Zealand (Inc).

"The New Zealand dollar has risen against the American dollar from 52 cents at the beginning of the year to the current 64 cents. The international oil price is stable, yet the price of fuel remains high, and to make matters worse the Government is planning a further five cents a litre fuel excise.

"There is no justification for the proposed additional excise, and there is no justification for the high fuel prices. Farmers' incomes are dropping as a result of the high NZ dollar and the price of fuel is hurting them and all New Zealand motorists.

"There are advantages to the higher dollar, with lower prices for imported goods going some way to offset the reduced returns farmers and other exporters receive. However this is not reflected in the fuel prices - they're as high as ever, and unfortunately for farmers, this is a time of year when they use a lot of fuel.

"The Government already siphons off 21 cents for each litre of fuel directly into the Crown account, almost half the total fuel excise. But this doesn't satisfy the Government's greed. At a time when farmers are feeling the pressure financially, the Government is once again planning more ways to tax on the sly.

"Fertiliser companies need congratulating for taking account of the high dollar's effect on input prices and passing this benefit on to farmers. The time is overdue for fuel companies to do the same.

"In the spirit of the festive season, fuel companies should stop being Scrooges and share some of their advantage with the consumer. The Government should stop being highway robbers. It's time to spend the money collected from motorists to build New Zealand a first class roading system, not the Mickey Mouse one the Government is rapidly developing," concluded Mr Pedersen.

ENDS


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