Highway robbery

Brian Rogers
Rogers Rabbits
www.sunlive.co.nz

Stand and deliver, suckers!

Once upon a time,  highway robbers were the swashbuckling, handsome rascal types who thrust their demands and hips in front of the stagecoach pointing a flintlock and boldly declared their evil intentions.

Sure, they were desperate, lawbreaking criminals who eventually hanged.

But they had a romantic appeal and some bad boy kudos with the ladies.

Even the ones they robbed.

Fast forward to so-called more civilised times. The bad asses are still here, but don’t have the style or the grace. Or the hips.

These days the Highway Robbers skulk around in Crown limos and insidiously extract hard-earned coin from the highway users by way of stealth and cunning.

Perversions

The latest daylight robbery on our highways is by the very people who should be protecting our interests, not fleecing us blind. The latest taxes-upon-taxes on fuel is the dirtiest and most unjust piece of government clobbering since Auntie Helen took far too much interest in our bathroom habits, and tried to tell us how to shower.

Perverse.

Also perversely, the road tax robbing has coincided with a brutal cut in road spending in the Bay of Plenty. One might be able to justify it, had more road tax corresponded with huge dollops of cash lavished on our dangerous highway. But quite the opposite is true - the government has cynically canned the programmed spending and desperately-needed upgrade of Shite Highway 2 north of Tauranga, at the same time slapping the locals a rude backhander of tax increases.

It’s a double whammy insult to the hardworking taxpayers of this region.

If it wasn’t so serious (it will undoubtedly cost lives), it could make a scene from a Monty Python episode.

Pay more, get less

“Have we got a deal for you? Jacinda’s Pie Shop Special.

“Half the pie for twice the money!

“The more you spend, the less you get. Great for weight loss. Why not buy two?”

Pirated petrol

Boat owners are persecuted even more.

Not only are they paying for increasing road tax component on boat petrol, there’s no way to claim it back. So boaties are paying more and more road tax for the privilege of using their craft on the water, but seeing no benefits.

There is a complicated system for claiming it back, but the cynical government knows that no private boatie can afford the rigmarole to do so. Any rebates claimed  cost more to recover than the savings.

Jack Sparrow would have thrived in this regime.

Mower meanness

And if you think its only boaties being unfairly hammered, remember every time you mow the lawn you’re being slugged for some road tax. I don’t see the government making any safety improvements in your backyard. Yet you’re paying more than half the cost of the lawnmower fuel in road tax.

And every time you start a chainsaw, ATV, generator or any other small petrol engine, you’re being slugged by a mean and greedy government ripping road tax off you, for no benefit in return.

Not only is this devastating for the average Kiwi family and their transport costs, but the impact on the economy will be huge.

The cost of everything is affected by rising fuel costs and increased fuel tax. Food, services, deliveries… virtually every corner of commerce will be feeling the burn and passing on the increased costs to consumers.

People will be staying home in their droves. Hospitality and tourism sectors are already feeling the pain.

‘Electcentricity’

Meanwhile the government is bleating on about alternatives, such as electric cars. Great notion, but in reality the electric car option is still far from viable for many.

Charging options are few and far between and the jury is still out on the supposed “green-ness”, with the mining of lithium, disposal of used batteries and dubious power generation sources, such as coal, still providing too many unanswered environmental questions.  

The fact that only 500 electric cars are sold annually suggests the electric car market has a long way to go to be a sensibly-viable alternative.

As a business we’ve looked into it, and despite running an electric scooter for a few years, are not convinced the electric market has its act together yet.

I’m still waiting for someone other than the eccentric nutters to enthuse businesses to the point they decide ‘yeah, this is now worth it’.

Duplicity

If the government was serious about the electric alternative, it would be offering major subsidies to businesses to convert, not throwing obstacles in the way.  

Meanwhile, today’s Highway Robbers are getting away with it. The economy, the community and the nation are being looted before our very eyes. Hard working folk are being bled dry through unfair taxes, to fund other priorities - mostly a large amount of inefficiency.

You just can’t expect to get away with the duplicity of taxing for a purpose, then reducing the spend on that.

Parting shot

Today’s parting shots, from David Seymour: “Always remember that to  spend $2.50 at the pump you have to  earn up to $3.75 before income tax, depending on your tax rate.

“The biggest tax on petrol is actually the income tax you pay before you even get to the pump.”

And finally this gem:

“Today in history, Jacinda Ardern wants to stop oil exploration but have cheaper petrol.”

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