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Petrol price fuels industry debate at MTA Conference

16 November 2011

Petrol price fuels industry debate at MTA Conference

At its annual conference in Rotorua on Friday 11 November, Motor Trade Association (MTA) held a forum to debate a critical issue for the future of New Zealand transport – should the price of fuel be increased to preserve the precious commodity for the future.

This debate originated in response to earlier suggestions that the price of petrol was too cheap and increasing the price would force New Zealanders to treat it carefully and preserve it for the future.

On the panel was Green Party MP – Gareth Hughes and NZ Bus and Coach, Chief Executive – Raewyn Bleakley, Road Transport Forum (RTF) Chief Executive, Ken Shirley and former Wellington mayoral candidate and creator of Autocade – Jack Yan.

Green Party MP, Gareth Hughes said “The Green Party doesn’t support raising petrol prices but we want to raise some questions around global declining fuel stocks and volatility of price markets, but also the need for a balanced transport budget and investing across all the modes, road safety, right through to public transport. We also support investigating an oil reduction strategy to lessen our dependence on imported fossil fuels.”

“Oil prices going forward are going to be a critical issue and it would be responsible to take a balanced view to transport funding and to develop alternatives to petrol.”

RTF Chief Executive, Ken Shirley said “There’s no justification for abandoning basic market principles of supply and demand, setting price, responding to innovation technology. What we’ve seen is the market responding very rapidly in a global sense with smaller, more fuel efficient cars. That trend is going to continue and there’s no place for Government to intervene because when they do, they only mess it up.”

Former Wellington mayoral candidate, Jack Yan said “Innovation is the life force of our economy and cannot be threatened by high fuel prices. Past behaviour proves, that increasing fuel prices won’t mean that it will go toward a tax take to fund innovation or public transport. The majority of it will go towards lining the pockets of multinational fuel companies.”

NZ Bus and Coach, Chief Executive, Raewyn Bleakley said “We see public transport playing a vital component in the future of New Zealand’s transport environment. In the future public transport will be critical in delivering environmental and economic benefits for New Zealand and will also help deal with critical issues such as congestion, productivity and health risks.”

Although no agreement was reached, there was some support from MTA members for several ideas discussed.

ENDS

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