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Petrol Prices Hurting Kiwis - Wake Up To It

The Government's hand-washing on petrol prices is letting down New Zealanders who are really hurting, Opposition leader Jenny Shipley said today.

"The 'Minister of Lower Petrol Prices,' Jim Anderton, has been noticeably silent since the spectacular failure of his promise to keep prices down. And Michael Cullen is sitting back and saying there's nothing he can do.

"Dr Cullen should acknowledge that his own abuse and criticism of business is a huge problem. The Government must admit that its policies have caused the crisis of confidence which has driven the dollar to historic lows.

"If it could restore international investor confidence in the Kiwi dollar, New Zealanders would at last get some relief.

"Dr Cullen says many people will be reducing their petrol consumption because of higher prices.

"That's okay for rich people who can keep the Landrover in the garage for a while, but a lot of families simply can't cut back. They have no alternative to using the car to get to work or get the kids to school.

"Many small businesses and self-employed people such as taxi-drivers and courier operators can't avoid the higher prices.

"There are many things the Government could do to show that it at least understands the problems that petrol prices are causing many New Zealanders:

* Get together with the Automobile Association, the Motor Trade Association and the Consumers Institute to fully assess the case for reducing taxes on petrol.
* Promote public transport and see that families do have more alternatives to using the car.
* Give people useful information on saving fuel.
* Tell us what happened to Labour's pre-election policy of Combined Average Fuel Economy (CAFÉ) standards for imported new and second-hand cars.

"So get on with it Mr Anderton and Dr Cullen. New Zealanders are waiting," Mr Shipley.

Ends

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