Don Brash announced today at the AA Annual Conference that National will effectively abolish the petrol tax by reallocating all the money it collects through the petrol tax, from the consolidated fund into the National Land Transport Fund. This is around $600 million a year.
This is a stunning policy, which I think is great. It is going to effectively double the amount of money actually available for the construction of new roads over the next nine years. This will make a huge difference in urban areas which have crippling traffic congestion. Public transport is good, but it is deluded thinking to think that alone can reduce traffic congestion.
Finally we will have what opinion polls have shown huge support for over time – that the money collected from petrol tax will be spent just on the roads, and not siphoned off into the consolidated fund.
When NZ had deficits or small surpluses there was more of an argument that one needed the petrol tax to maintain services. But with a huge $7+ billion surplus, the continuation of the tax was weaker and weaker. It is lies and scaremongering to say this move will in anyway affect services – it will simply just reduce the huge surplus by a small amount.
Dr Brash’s full speech is not yet online so I have included it after the break. There is more there than just the petrol tax, so worth reading. Well done to Maurice Williamson for getting this policy approved.
National Party Leader
1 April 2005
National’s Plan for Better Roads
Address to the Automobile Association of New Zealand
Annual Conference, Napier
Mr Chairman, Ladies and Gentlemen.
I want to begin this afternoon by saying something that more politicians should be saying to the Automobile Association: thank you.
Thank you because you make a major contribution to the economic and social well-being of New Zealand