I wonder if the backlash to the Government’s tax announcement on fuel has something to do with conviction.
I wonder if the backlash, as much as anything, is about people perhaps subliminally feeling that this is all a bit of a con.
Here’s your problem, as has been quite rightly pointed out. Firstly, fuel tax is a new tax – and the Government trying to argue it isn’t is a lie.
Have other governments adjusted the excise? Yes. But that doesn’t make it a reason to do it yourself – especially when you explicitly bent over backwards during the election campaign arguing that there would be no new taxes.
You had a tax working group, and whatever they came up with and got adopted would be taken to the poll of 2020, so we could all vote on it.
That was fair and clear, and made political sense. It’s like arguing income tax is already in place, and because you’re taking the top rate to 39, that’s just an adjustment not a new tax. No one would believe it or accept it.
Would people have voted Labour if they knew they would put up the price of petrol by 25 cents a litre?
Secondly, and here’s the really important bit when it comes to credibility, this fuel tax is paying for buses and trains and trams. Now, the fact this Government is pro-public transport is not a surprise to anyone, and they’re allowed to be.
But if you are, be honest with it, and be bold with it. In other words, don’t slap drivers of cars with taxes and say it’s for roads when it isn’t. Don’t dress it up as something it’s not.
This is what is annoying motorists. They will be paying 25 cents a litre for for petrol, but the Government will slash spending on roads. It’s not user pays. It’s whack it all to the motorists because the Greens hate cars.
The danger is, if excise is suddenly for anything you want, why not regional air routes? Why not electric car subsidies? Why not any pet transport project you can dream up?
A tagged tax has to be a tagged tax, otherwise it’s a rort.
Motorists will be paying 25 cents a litre more and in return the Government will spend $5 billion less on roads. Not a great deal.