National call for halt to latest petrol tax increase

Source: 1News

National are calling for a pause on the latest petrol tax increase, saying New Zealanders are already feeling the pinch from the financial impact of Covid-19.

As Covid-19 has seen the Government's planned light rail from Auckland city centre south paused, National leader Simon Bridges says that the petrol tax - which was planned to help fund the project - should be paused too.

"That's $250 million of extra tax they'd be collecting," Mr Bridges told 1 NEWS.

"There's a lot of New Zealanders who are doing it tougher and tougher through Covid-19 [and] the economic effects of that. Let's put it on hold.

"The Government's announced this project several times, and nothing has happened."

The Automobile Association (AA) is also in support of the proposed pause.

"It would actually be a good time to cancel the next excise, or at least defer it until such time as the Transport Agency actually has those projects ready to go," says the AA's Mark Stockdale.

Like National did before, the Government has increased the petrol excise tax each year, and says that July's 4c a litre increase will be the last.

Truck operators say the planned five per cent increase in road user charges should also be scrapped, however Labour says that now isn't the time to be cutting back.

"It's a terrible idea," says Transport Minister Phil Twyford.

"We need the revenue to build the transport infrastructure the country needs, and get on with these projects that will boost jobs and help the economy recover."

Mr Twyford says the decision on light rail will be back before Cabinet in the coming weeks.