INDEPENDENT NEWS

Land Transport Bill a back road to higher taxes

Published: Wed 5 Nov 2003 09:48 AM
Land Transport Bill a back road to higher taxes
The Land Transport Management Bill is a con job being wrought on road users, the Employers & Manufacturers Association (Northern) says.
"Government is misleading road users into thinking the new law will help ease traffic congestion but all it will do is divert more taxes into non-road purposes," said Alasdair Thompson, EMA's chief executive.
"Every time you fill up with 50 litres of gas now you pay over $27 in taxes but only $6.95 of it goes into building roads.
"That means three quarters of motorists petrol taxes don't go to roads.
"The new Bill will make it worse as it lets more vehicle registration fees, road user charges and fuel taxes be spent wherever the Minister of Transport wants it spent.
"He won't even have to spend it wisely. For instance, under this law, road user funds can go into subsidies for coastal shippers including large transnational shippers who pay no tax in New Zealand whatsoever.
"Business is appalled Government has not capped the amount of road user funds that can be spent on non-roading projects.
"For decades Auckland has had far less than its share of road users funds invested back in the regions' roading infrastructure.
"Now Transport Minister Swain has taken over a year to get this new law lined up and it's turned out a sop to the Greens with none of the benefits promised to Auckland road users and nothing in it to address the traffic crisis facing them every day as they head to work.
"It does nothing very useful at all to accelerate road building.
"The waste of time and money it represents rivals the waste being forced on Aucklanders who lose an average of over an hour daily in travelling time, worth six weeks holiday a year.
"For Auckland overall it's a waste value of $11 million a day or $2.7 billion a year, plus vehicle and fuel costs. And Government wants more of your petrol tax and other road user charges to use on non-road projects.
"The Minister has been fiddling around at Auckland's expense."

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