Congestion Charges Come Full Circle
2022 Mayoral candidate Craig Lord is intrigued by the turn of interest from the Government and Transport Minister Michael Woods in regards to a congestion tax for Auckland motorists.
“Back in 2019 I made what I thought to be a big song and dance about how easily Auckland could implement an electronic toll/congestion system for fundraising instead of a fuel tax” says Lord, “but it had zero interest from the then Transport Minister Twyford, and even less interest from the sitting Mayor Goff. Both felt it was too difficult to introduce. I found that mentality staggeringly limited.”
Lord is still fully in favour for the placement of digital ‘User Pays’ systems around specific areas of Auckland, but there is a proviso - the regional fuel tax needs to be removed in turn.
“There’s an issue I have with their current plan which they say is all about reducing congestion. That’s also quite ironic given Waka Kotahi NZTA has admitted they are purposely creating congestion. This means their mindset with the new idea is to create congestion, then implement a fine onto their own creation, it’s a penalty for using your vehicle. I’ve had the feedback from people outside of the Government think-tank bubble - people who actually drive into the Auckland CBD - and they say a congestion tax will not change a thing.”
“Having a fuel tax for raising revenue, and then a fine for using your vehicle in certain areas is disgraceful. The fuel tax itself is neither fair nor logical so to keep it enabled with fines on top of that - well it’s just another punch in the face for Aucklanders.”
Electronic Tolls are controllable, they can be turned on and off, they can also be set to different rates for different users. The fuel tax is a blunt instrument.
“I said it in 2019 and I’m saying it again now - the overseas tolling systems work brilliantly and New Zealand needs to get with the program, and use them for the right reasons.”
Craig Lord came 3rd in the 2019 Mayoral elections and has remained an active campaigner on social media. He confirmed his run for the 2022 election immediately after the 2019 results.