Cr Newman on regressive fuel taxes

Auckland Councillor writes:

If Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern wants to uncover the root cause of motorist’s pain at the pump, she need only look in the mirror.

Labour has directed that the price of petrol and diesel is to rise by 3.5 cents a litre every year. On top of that, the Labour fuel tax hit Auckland motorists by an extra 11.5 cents (including GST) a litre on July 1.

This is precisely the reason why my Labour colleague Councillor Efeso Collins courageously voted against the Auckland-version of his own party’s fuel tax agenda. Speaking during that debate, Collins stated the obvious: “These taxes hit the poorest the most.”

Yep, they do.

I represent the Manurewa-Papakura Ward; some of the poorest people in Auckland are my constituents. Around 80 per cent of my constituents travel to and from work via a car. I represent shift workers, taxi drivers, mums and dads who drive their children across the city, people who need groceries, people whose movements are complex and who cannot easily align with a rigid timetable for a limited bus service.

Anyone who has children needs a car. They are essential to families.

The punitive application of fuel taxes that trigger the wholesale redistribution of wealth from the poorest with the least choice to enable greater transport choice (albeit slow and inconvenient) for those who have the most is a conundrum that demands a political distraction.

So poor families in South Auckland are funding trams for rich inner city residents.

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