Bay councils consider fuel tax

Mayor Greg Brownless says Tauranga City Council only supports a regional fuel tax in the Bay of Plenty as last resort if central government does not step up to help fund much-needed infrastructure. File photo.

Three Bay of Plenty councils are among 14 throughout the country who are considering regional fuel taxes similar to the 11.5 cent per litre one in Auckland.

Bay of Plenty Regional Council, Tauranga City Council and Western Bay of Plenty Council have all been identified as considering introducing the fuel tax.

The list of councils - which is less than a quarter of all 78 in New Zealand - was obtained by Newshub through a series of Official Information Act requests.

Unlike Auckland, where the tax kicks in during July, those councils won't be able to enforce one until 2021 at the earliest.

The option of a fuel tax has become available thanks to the Land Transport Management (Regional Fuel Tax) Amendment Bill, which was introduced to Parliament by Transport Minister Phil Twyford in March.

The bill, currently before select committee, allows Auckland to adopt a fuel tax from July.

From 2021, New Zealand's remaining regional councils will be able to apply to the Government for a maximum of 10 cents per litre fuel tax (plus GST).

A number of councils had already shown interest in the tax bill by early May.

Mayor Greg Brownless stated last month, a fuel tax was not his preferred option.

He says the council is making a submission only to take advantage of what he describes as a rare change in legislation.

“I would prefer for the government to fund it all,” says Greg. “But if the government takes us down another track and we don’t have the option of a regional fuel tax, where will the money come from? Ratepayers can’t afford it, and the government isn’t being particularly free with money for our area at the moment.

“Will it come from tolls? We’re faced with some hard choices at the moment.”

He says it’s ‘crazy’ not to at least have the option available.

“We’re not pushing for a regional fuel tax, but if it becomes an option for everywhere else in the country, we should have it too.

“How many more years can we languish here with nothing happening? We’re wonderful at talking and group hugging, but I don’t see anything happening yet on these transport problems.”

Local Government New Zealand president Dave Cull says his group supports the bill but wants the tax to be made available to all councils, not just regional councils.

"There is a need for more and more sustainable funding mechanisms for local government in general," says Dave.

The AA saw both sides of the argument.

Its petrol prices spokesman Mark Stockdale says a regional fuel tax would appeal to councils looking to raise revenue while avoiding rates rises.

However, it didn't support a tax outside Auckland.

Many regions already paid higher fuel prices than Auckland, he says.

"It would be unfair and unreasonable to impose yet more taxes on fuel in those areas that pay much higher fuel prices."

ACT leader David Seymour wasn't happy with the bill.

"It's classic unintended consequences - the Government set out to solve a problem in Auckland, and now everyone's going to wear it," he told Newshub.

"They could have written Auckland in the legislation. They made it nationwide and now these councils up and down the country are licking their lips."

Councils considering a fuel tax:

- Bay of Plenty Regional Council

- Christchurch City Council

- Environment Canterbury

- Gisborne District Council

- Greater Wellington Regional Council

- Hamilton City Council

- Hurunui District Council

- Rangitikei District Council

- Tauranga City Council

- Thames Coromandel District Council

- Waikato District Council

- Waikato Regional Council

- Westland District Council

- Western Bay of Plenty

 - Additional reporting by Stuff.co.nz


9 Comments

Greed. Just like the new Boss said

Posted on 20-06-2018 21:12 | By Noel Silver

Well isn’t this just great. Now we will have to pay more for our fuel, so we can experience more of the daily grind of grid lock which has all been created by Government and Councils with no ability to plan, and build in advance of the future needs of the nation, while being handsomely paid. It is becoming plain to see that her great slogan had a few words left off. "Let’s just do this NEXT DECADE" as the next election will have come and gone before the committees report back with advise to do something. More Tax on the people is a great idea. By Noel

Money grabbers

Posted on 20-06-2018 20:45 | By Craven Moorehead

Another regressive tax introduced by a Labour government. Didn’t see that one coming. For those who spend most of their money on smokes, booze and fuel I commend you for being so charitable. Good on you. Keep up the good work.

Electric Vehicles

Posted on 20-06-2018 20:25 | By R1Squid

Maybe we forgot about them. Suggest a Road User charge levy - just like Diesel vehicles. After all, EV’s use the roads...

Hang on a minute..

Posted on 20-06-2018 20:06 | By inthweedz

Just a thought.. If they are going to add a tax on fuel, will they remove our two toll roads?? I think if another ’’tax’’ is going to be thrust upon us, the council should go for the toll road option.. This way it get all the electric vehicles (who don’t pay a cent towards roading at present) as well as petrol powered vehicles.. That seems fairer to me..

The sooner...

Posted on 20-06-2018 19:16 | By morepork

... the petrol runs out, the better for all of us.

Cool !!

Posted on 20-06-2018 15:13 | By Marshal

Now our wonderful Councils can attach a Vacuum cleaner to both sides of our bank accounts.. I wonder if being so caring and awe inspiring might actually be a little painful. I’ve paid rates for 50yrs, at the rate we are going in another 50yrs rates will be something like $20,000-00. That’s cool as houses will cost like $14,400,000 give or take . Woo hoo .. Bucks to burn.. LOL

Out off it or what.!!

Posted on 20-06-2018 13:20 | By Marshal

I want some of what the local councillors are on.. The half wit’s really think there is endless money out there for their various whims and far fetched fantasies.. I for one haven’t just sold a house in Awkland or neither do I own a construction company or Kiwi fruit oorchard. So a limited amount of funds... But if the councils haven’t enough funds to play Monopoly with. I guess I could get used to living in a tent.. Go hard..

taxing us more

Posted on 20-06-2018 12:49 | By overrated

Taxings us more will not provide a solution to poor planning.

tax on tax on tax

Posted on 20-06-2018 12:41 | By dumbkof2

why don’t we just give all our money to the govt and councils and be done with it. they are gettingmost of it now any way

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