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Politicians Promising Tax Cuts Are Misleading

1st September 2005

Politicians Promising Tax Cuts are Misleading Voters

"The tax-relief or tax-cut packages promised by Labour and National disguise the real tax story" warns Elaine West of RAM ­ Residents Action Movement.

Ms West believes that "post-election, every person will pay new forms of taxes dressed as road taxes or tolls which will make current tax cut policies look a poor political joke."

"Helen Clark's plans to restructure the public open-road network into a public-private road network - where users pay tolls directly to road operators - are not considered extreme enough nor happening fast enough according to Don Brash."

"In the speech Roading Now given in May 2004, Brash indicated that the Road Advisory Group's proposals - requested at the time by a National-led government in 1997 - are likely to be revived under his leadership.

"The Group advised that New Zealand could be world leaders in road reform ­ including:

- introducing new road reform laws and direct road pricing schemes;
- setting up road companies with the Crown and local authorities as shareholders;
- changing the status of roads from a public good to a commercial good;
- managing roads as businesses with the intention of raising profits and paying taxes;
- directly charging ALL road users including vehicle users, cyclists and pedestrians;
- charging utility providers for 'carriage-way' use ie: gas, electricity, water providers;
- encouraging private investment in the road network;
- dropping Road User Charges paid by commercial vehicles, and decreasing local body transport rates and eventually petrol taxes."

"The above Road Reform proposals are evident in comments made recently by Brash

- changing the Resource Management Act for rapid road building with diminished public consultation;
- promoting private sector participation and investment in roads [strongly endorsed by the Business Roundtable];
- dropping Road User Charges and decreasing local body transport rates and petrol taxes;
- using tolls on roads to: raise funds and make investment profitable for private sector capital and to directly manage drive behaviour."

Ms West argues that Clark and Brash are misleading voters with promised tax relief.

She says "It is critical that New Zealanders understand that new road taxes will severely hit those who are least able to afford them."

"Tolls are road taxes" she warns "and roads are set to be the new tax bonanza for private profiteers inside and outside of New Zealand - at the expense of the rest of us."

ENDS

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