What will make New Zealanders support a fuel tax
27 October 2017
How to make 'em like a fuel tax?
It seems not much is new about the way Aucklanders view a proposed fuel tax…
The Herald is busy asking Aucklanders what they think of a 10c fuel levy in their region to help pay for transport
An unscientific Herald online poll
of 13,300 people, finds the fuel tax, which is one of the new Labour-led Government’s policies, is opposed by 49%, supported by 42% while 7% say maybe.
However, the results are similar to ones of a scientific study
done in May 2008, before the then Labour-led Government was replaced by a National-led one.
The May 2008 poll by ShapeNZ (since acquired by Horizon Research) of 2,569 New Zealanders, representing the adult
population, found 50.8% opposed to regional transport projects being funded with a regional fuel tax of up to 10 cents per litre. 35% supported the
policy and 14% didn’t know.
This was Labour policy at the time and would have allowed any regional council to introduce a fuel tax of up to 10c per
Among respondents in Auckland City, 48% opposed and 35% supported the tax: remarkably similar to the response to the Herald nearly 10 years on.
Phasing in the tax:
When asked by ShapeNZ in 2008 about a further policy change at that time, which would have seen the fuel tax phased in
rather than imposed all at once, 53.5% agreed with a phase-in.
In Auckland City there was 50% agreement on a phase-in, 33% opposition.
No appetite for project delays:
However, today’s policymakers might take a hint from the 2008 results as they listen to Aucklanders on the policy.
In 2007 Aucklanders had little appetite for delaying a regional fuel tax if it meant delaying improvements to roads,
rail, ferry and bus services.
50% disapproved of a phase-in if it meant transport improvement delays.
Among Auckland City respondents disapproval over delays rose to 54.4%.
Perhaps history is telling the new Government – and the Herald – to put the issue in context: would support for the new
tax vary depending on
• Phasing in the fuel price rise, and
• Putting in the context of forgoing transport gains (and avoiding rates rises) if the tax were not introduced?