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Talk Of Increasing Regional Petrol Taxes Premature

Media Release: 28 April 2006

Talk Of Increasing Regional Petrol Taxes Premature

The AA welcomes the release of the New Zealand Council for Infrastructure Development’s Meeting New Zealand’s Transport Needs to 2025 report as a valuable contribution to the transport debate.

“It’s time for the government and other planners to take a longer-term view of New Zealand’s transport needs. To do so would be a major step toward the certainty we all need in the development of a sensible plan for transport for the next generation,” says AA Motoring Affairs General Manager Mike Noon.

The AA’s analysis earlier this year identified between $5 billion and $6 billion of roading projects not identified and in the Transit 10 Year State Highway Forecast. The Road Transport Forum calculated the figure at $7 billion and the NZCID report identifies an $8 billion shortfall. The current vision of the New Zealand Transport Strategy is to achieve an integrated, safe, responsive and sustainable transport system by 2010. However the Strategy is silent on what should happen after that. By contrast the British Department of Transport published The Future of Transport – a network for 2030 in July 2004.

“Long term planning needs to take into account future economic, environmental and social needs. We need to build a legacy that the next generation will be proud to inherit. This will take both time and money and we need to start work on it now,” says Mr Noon.

“The AA does not believe that the Government alone can provide all the answers. However, recent calls for increased regional taxes are premature.”

“Before increased regional taxes are even considered, the Government needs to guarantee that all of the excise tax collected from motorists will be allocated to the Land Transport Fund on an ongoing basis. Currently around 19 cents from each litre of petrol sold goes to the general Crown account.”

“While the Government sometimes provides additional money for roading projects, which is most welcome, this funding is ad hoc and isn’t guaranteed. It cannot therefore be included in any long term planning solutions.”

“Only when all the excise tax is allocated to the Land Transport Fund on an ongoing basis, and we have a stable position for funding, will it be time to look at other funding sources,”says Mr Noon.

ENDS

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