Mythbusting: The govt gets rich off high petrol prices

Written By: - Date published: 9:49 am, June 9th, 2008 - 95 comments
Categories: economy, tax - Tags: ,

We regularly hear calls (not backed by any major party, including National) for the taxes on petrol to be lowered or removed because the prices are so high. After all, every time the price goes up, the government gets more revenue, doesn’t it?

No, it doesn’t. Tax on petrol has two parts. There are four levies totalling 50 cents a litre that pay for roading and the health costs of crashs. These are fixed amounts; they do not change when the price of petrol changes. But higher prices means that people are buying fewer litres of petrol now, so the government collects less revenue from these levies. Then, there is GST. The amount of GST collected from fuel rises with the retail price but when people have to spend extra on fuel they don’t buy something else and the government doesn’t get GST that lost sale. Overall, the amount of GST collected does not change because of the price of fuel. Less excise revenue, same GST, and, don’t forget, the government needs to buy fuel for tens of thousands of vehicles too. Rising petrol prices cost the government.

If the government did cut fuel taxes, it would create a massive hole in the budget. Every cent (and then some) of tax collected on fuel goes into roading costs. That money has to come from somewhere. And the decrease in retail price would soon be eaten up by further rises in the cost of crude.

Petrol tax is not the problem. Too much demand for oil and not enough supply is the problem. Artificially and temporarily lowering the price of petrol by removing taxes would only distort a clear market signal. That signal is: reduce demand, there’s not much oil left. If we bury our heads in the sand, continue demanding more and more oil and moaning for tax decreases, we only hasten the day when supply begins to plummet.

Peak oil is coming and no tinkering with taxes is going to change that.

95 comments on “Mythbusting: The govt gets rich off high petrol prices ”

  1. higherstandard 1

    This site is also informative …… and appears to be politically neutral.

  2. Steve: agree that “Peak oil is coming and no tinkering with taxes is going to change that.” but….

    “higher prices means that people are buying fewer litres of petrol now”: really ? people still need to commute to work, do their shopping etc and businesses still need to operate. Can you publish the link that indicates volume sales are dropping ?

    “when people have to spend extra on fuel they don’t buy something else” ditto really. People still need to eat and pay for electricity,rates etc.

    Agreed retail sales are falling which tends to support your agurement but maybe savings are taking a hit rather than just a cut back in spending.

  3. Jeez HS – until I realised there was a link in the post I thought you were talking about the Standard! I was starting to get concerned for your health…

  4. higherstandard 4

    RS

    Indeed it appears to have disappeared attached below

    http://www.petroltax.org.nz/

  5. higherstandard 5

    http://www.petroltax.org.nz/

    strange things happening with the site today ?

  6. Steve: while I agree with “Peak oil is coming and no tinkering with taxes is going to change that.”….

    “people are buying fewer litres of petrol now”, really ? People still have to go to work, do there shopping,take the kids to sport,visit Granny etc etc. Businesses still need to operate as per normal.

    Do you have the link that indicates falling volume sales ?

  7. Steve: “spend extra on fuel they don’t buy something else”

    Again people still have to buy the basics but the numbers suggest that growth in discretionary spending is dropping. Whether this equates to a rebalancing of GST take is questionable ?

  8. RedLogix 8

    Bryan,

    As far as the average person is concerned every dollar of expenditure is rated at 12.5%; EXCEPT for rents and mortgage interest that are zero rated. Logically as these items increase as a proportion of total expenditure then total govt GST income will reduce.

  9. burt 9

    When petrol cracked $1.20/litre I stopped using the car for work switching to the bicycle.

    I now do about 30 k’s a week in the car so I’ve reduced the amount of tax I pay via petrol. I now spend less on petrol with it being around $2/litre then I did when it was around $1.20/litre.

    Just like high tax rates are a disincentive to working higher petrol prices are a disincentive to using the car.

    Using the bicycle has eliminated parking costs, vastly reduced petrol expenditure and eliminated gym membership costs as well.

    Loosly speaking it’s saved me around $100-$120 week.

    There is no excuse for not getting on ya bike, if you live within about 20k’s of your work there is no excuse for not adapting rather than simply moaning about price increases.

  10. Well it doesn’t happen often but… Burt – I agree with you completely.

  11. r0b 11

    Good Lord Almighty. Burt and I agree on something. I hardly use a car these days.

    People, if you can at all – get on yer bikes!

  12. Stephen 12

    burt – except for getting SWEATY and not having any showers at one’s work.

  13. I’m not really one to call sceptic, but I think maybe a little caution is needed around peak oil, we dont really know why production isnt increasing at the same rate as demand, sure it coudl be cause oil is running out, it could also be cause bp and shell ect are calculating the numbers, how much supply can they hold back (pushing up the price) with out causing a significant decrease in demand that wouldnt make it worth while. just saying…

  14. Billy 14

    See, ‘sod and r0b, there’s the market working.

  15. This is exactly right. As Russell Norman says the days of cheap oil have ended and we need action, not only to reduce pollution, but minimize what will become a massive burden in the future.

  16. burt: “There is no excuse for not getting on ya bike, if you live within about 20k’s of your work” for those living in Christchurch you are no doubt on the money. In Auckland it is less advisable.

  17. RedLogix: “EXCEPT for rents and mortgage interest ” so how do these relate to the increasing GST component of a litre of petrol ?

  18. r0b 18

    See, ‘sod and r0b, there’s the market working.

    My own return to the bike predates the petrol increases by a few years. But in general yes of course the rising cost is going to change consumption, and that is “the market working” if you like.

    Righties love the market when it works for them, but they tend to come crying to the government for help when it doesn’t. Privatise the profits, socialise the losses. It’s shameless.

  19. higherstandard 19

    Burt Agreed

    I ride to work when I’m at Nth Shore Hosp much to the amusement of my colleagues but am still lazy when having to go over to Auckland or Waitakere.

    Also appears my link has disappeared for above it’s here for those that are interested.

    http://www.petroltax.org.nz/

    [lprent: odd. I’ll try a few tests later tonight. Did you enter it in the re-edit mode?]

  20. r0b 20

    HS, with the cost savings and health benefits, your colleagues won’t be laughing quite so much in 5 years time!

  21. burt 21

    Stephen

    The no shower at work thing is a problem. I worked at one place where there was no shower and I tried to negotiate a “shower only rate’ with the gym across the road. The gym didn’t get it and I ended up paying for a full membership to get access to the showers.

    Anyone here who has any influence with any of the gyms ? – How about a shower only rate ?

  22. higherstandard 22

    Very true r0b same point I made the other day about the number of kids taking cars to school instead of walking or bikes as in my day.

    For trips under 10 or so kilometres bikes are almost always faster also and it’s more fun, hell if they made the harbour bridge cyclable I’d even turn up at Auckland by bike now and again ……. that would push my colleagues over the edge.

  23. Phil 23

    I’m too attached to my automobile… I started getting withdrawl symptoms after buying a monthly train pass in May and having to suffer the Johnsonville line.

    I’m now at the point where I’m willing to get up at 4am to arrive at work at 5am to watch the Canadian Grand Prix on Sky, just so I don’t need to use public transport.

  24. Billy 24

    Righties love the market when it works for them, but they tend to come crying to the government for help when it doesn’t.

    Like who? No proper rightie.

  25. r0b 25

    if they made the harbour bridge cyclable

    HS, I may be wrong, but I think I recall a remit to this effect at the 2007 Labour Party conference. To great applause if memory serves. So it could be in the works somewhere – and there’s one reason for you to hope for a fourth term for Labour!

  26. higherstandard 26

    r0b I fear that the it is still some way off.

    http://www.caa.org.nz/bridge.html

  27. higherstandard 27

    Lyn Just did it again put in a link and the whole post disappeared very odd ??

    Rob unfortunately I think a cycle lane is still a way off.

    http://www.caa.org.nz/bridge.html

  28. r0b 28

    Righties love the market when it works for them, but they tend to come crying to the government for help when it doesn’t.
    Like who? No proper rightie.

    Ahh Billy, wake up and smell the hypocrisy. It’s the international captains of industry in banking and property speculation that are my favourites. A few links to get you started:

    http://www.truthout.org/article/raising-taxes-bail-out-robert-rubin
    http://www.informationclearinghouse.info/article19531.htm
    http://www.informationclearinghouse.info/article19531.htm
    http://www.truthout.org/article/low-income-renters-pay-housing-bailout
    http://www.guardian.co.uk/business/2008/jun/02/globaleconomy.globalrecession

  29. Matthew Pilott 29

    Phil – that jville line was very rough a few years back (I used it for the daily commute) but it’s better now. Also, I think Labour bought the railways back or something – there might be some real investment in that line now.

    Since you paid for it (well, a very small part of it, about $2 per taxpayer), I suggest you use it every now and then!

    Bugger about Hamilton (Lewis, not the town near Tokoroa)…

  30. Anita 30

    Biking into town would be impractical for me I only go in when I need to spend time in clients’ offices (so no real chance of anywhere to change or shower). I also often have a whole string of meetings in different parts of town and the Wellington CBD is pretty bad about bike parks outside buildings – I guess cos so many office workers bring their bikes inside. A central Wellington bike park-and-shower might work for me, but in the meantime…

    Buses!!!

    Buses (at least on my routes) are fast, clean, cheap and low stress – I have never understood why anyone on a decent bus route would bother driving to work. I often drag my out-of-town colleagues onto buses to get between meetings if we don’t have time to walk and they’re always impressed by how much faster and easier it was than finding a cab.

  31. r0b 31

    Righties love the market when it works for them, but they tend to come crying to the government for help when it doesn’t.
    Like who? No proper rightie.

    Ahh Billy – wake up and smell the hypocrisy. The international captains of banking and property are my faves – some links to get you started:

    http://www.truthout.org/article/raising-taxes-bail-out-robert-rubin
    http://www.informationclearinghouse.info/article19531.htm
    http://www.informationclearinghouse.info/article19531.htm
    http://www.truthout.org/article/low-income-renters-pay-housing-bailout
    http://www.guardian.co.uk/business/2008/jun/02/globaleconomy.globalrecession

  32. r0b 32

    Testing. Apologies if I post duplicate replies to Billy.

  33. r0b 33

    Righties love the market when it works for them, but they tend to come crying to the government for help when it doesn?t.
    Like who? No proper rightie.

    Ahhh Billy – wake up and smell the hypocrisy. The international captains of banking and property are my faves – some links to get you started:

    http://www.truthout.org/article/raising-taxes-bail-out-robert-rubin
    http://www.informationclearinghouse.info/article19531.htm
    http://www.informationclearinghouse.info/article19531.htm
    http://www.truthout.org/article/low-income-renters-pay-housing-bailout
    http://www.guardian.co.uk/business/2008/jun/02/globaleconomy.globalrecession

  34. r0b 34

    Posts with links seem to disappear into a void. Billy, I’ll post a reply to you when all is well again.

  35. higherstandard 35

    r0b

    short term fix post without link then under edit function post the link in seems to work

  36. Stephen 37

    Wonder when the price of a bus ticket is going to go up…I take Dominion rd into town and there haven’t been any increases in the 5 months or so that i’ve been using it! Thanks ratepayers!

  37. Ari 38

    Steve- actually, when petrol prices go up, demand doesn’t fall immediately- partially because people still have empty tanks from using petrol beforehand, partially because it takes people a while to break mental inertia and examine if they want to be using petrol that expensive. Of course, that inexlasticisity is hardly enough to make a killing, especially as it’s probably not even enough to fund the extra development of public transport we’ll need soon.

  38. Billy 39

    Who said they were righties? Being a banker doesn’t automatically mean you are right wing. Requiring the state to subsidise your existence does automatcally make you a socialist.

    These guys are just highly paid beneficiaries.

  39. The governments take is 5 times higher than the petrol companies.
    BP on their website claim an 8% margin which includes operating costs, retail and wholesale margin including income tax.
    The breakdown on a litre is this;
    International shipping 3%
    Fuel company as above 8%
    International cost of product 49%
    TAXES 40%
    LINK http://www.bp.com/home.do?categoryId=6747&contentId=7022908
    CLICK ON THE facts about fuel pricing link.
    So my claim that a 10 cent price rise equals 5 cents for the govt is wrong. It is only 4 cents for every 10.
    Now I do not have a problem with the level of taxation as it stands. We have fairly cheap fuel here. One of the reasons for that is our trim petrol and the worst quality diesel sold anywhere on the planet.
    However with everybody suffering the squeeze on pricing for everything it might not be a bad idea for the govt to consider a cap on taxation in the short term.
    And the argument that we are using less fuel has not been born out with any evidence so far. Whilst some discretionary travel might now be lessened. The national trucking fleet will not be taking days off, and these increases in cost flow through the entire economy.

  40. T-rex 41

    Isn’t the govt take already an absolute rather than fractional amount?

  41. Not according to all the oil companies

  42. T-rex 43

    The 40% figure appears to be calculated for the price of petrol and tax at the time. I think the figure they quote below, 50.53c/litre, is the actual amount that goes on tax – plus the GST that’s already discussed here.

    I love the way oil companies play their violins so mournfully over the way so much of the cost of a litre of oil goes to ‘International cost of product’. Poor BP, having to give so much of the money they take of you at the pump away to… well… another one of their subsidiaries, who are making a freaking MINT in the current environment of speculation.

  43. T-Rex. We have one refinery who processes all our petrol. Who delivers the fuel from singapore (where most of our fuel transits from)?
    There is more than one fuel company and they all share the facilities.
    The figures quoted on the BP site were from 14th march this year.
    lets say 25 cents ago.. so around 1.80 per litre times 40 % equals 72 cents. that would be around 75 cents with a 25 cent increase since march.
    I am opposed to taxing tax, but that is a whole other argument that would need to include council rates as well. An issue that neither the Red team or the Blue team seem to be much bothered about.

  44. Requiring the state to subsidise your existence does automatcally make you a socialist.

    These guys are just highly paid beneficiaries

    You mean John Key is a beneficiary also?

  45. r0b 46

    Billy: Who said they were righties? Being a banker doesn’t automatically mean you are right wing.

    Come on Billy, that’s weak, very weak. If the people running the world’s banking and property markets aren’t the essence of fight wing capitalism then I’m a small tree in Estonia.

    Own up to it. Righties like to privatise profits and socialise losses. If this makes you uncomfortable then you might be ready to start exploring the implications of your right wing beliefs in more detail.

  46. barnsleybill. how is the ‘taxing a tax’ argument anything other than a hollwo cliche? The money raised on taxes on rates and levies is spent on roads etc.

    If you cut out those taxes, you have to find that money from somewhere else (ceterus paribas on the spending, that’s a whole other issue)

  47. your comment about speculation was right on the money by the way.
    Despite the human haters banging on about peak Oil and snails we have not got a problem with supply at the moment. The price rises are happening for two reason.
    Gouging by oil states and the flight of cash from lending to oil speculating, this is one of the downsides of capitalism.
    If things get much worse we will see a lot more effort go into finding oil outside the middle east. Most of the continental USA, Alaska and surrounding Oceans are off limits to prospecting due to some of the tightest environmental laws in the world. Watch those laws get changed when the bite really comes on. And it won’t matter whether you have an elephant or a donkey in the white house.

  48. Steve, the taxing tax issue is a whole other discussion. I was not trying to divert the topic in any way. Start a new thread and I am happy to debate that issue. An issue that (as I said) neither left or right seem to want to discuss.

  49. Rex Widerstrom 50

    Every cent (and then some) of tax collected on fuel goes into roading costs.

    Steve, do you have a link that references that? Because I know that 10 years ago that was definitely not the case – it was running at slightly less than 50% IIRC, with the remainder going into the Consolidated Fund. It was the major plank of NZF’s transport policy, to have every cent of petrol tax spent on roads, particularly accident “black spots”.

    Successive governments of both stripes have been notorious for siphoning off (excuse the pun) fuel revenue into the general accounts, so if the position has changed in the last 10 years or so, I’m glad to hear it.

  50. I think I recall Labour announcing that they would be putting it all into roading Rex (which is why I did not call this one out). But the contention that all tax and then some is spent on roading is (to use a standard term) pork pies. it would be nice to see some evidence of the totality being spent on roads though.. As opposed to coastal shipping!

  51. insider 52

    barnsley

    we don’t have trim petrol and the worst diesel wherever. Concentrate on facts not slogans.

    We don’t have one refinery who processes all our petrol. It only does about 2/3s. We access additional fuel from a range of refineries – primarily singapore and Australia, but also elsewhere.

    Oil states are as much subject to the market as any other participant. There’s no evidence they are gouging prices, especially when you then say there is no problem with supply.

    No-one is forced to pay $135 a barrel. OPEC is no doubt enjoying the prices but I doubt they can increase output quickly to counter them. Nor can anyone else. Production projects have long time frames. Interestingly Venezuela has managed to drop its output by a 1/3 in recent years by renationalising its industry. A classic example of a peak in production being politicall not resource driven

    The tax numbers are extremely easy to work out. Just go to the MED website. It is 50.539cpl plus the GST on the final price, so around 73cpl all up at $2/l

  52. Pascal's bookie 53

    As well as speculation and supply problems, the price of oil is being driven upwards by the fact that it is mostly traded in a US dollar that is suffering from inflation.

    http://cunningrealist.blogspot.com/2008/05/soylent-greenbacks.html

    The US govt is at the same time increasing it’s strategic reserve, possibly in case the strait of Hormuz gets closed for some reason between now and January.

  53. insider 54

    Bryan Spondre

    Stats NZ has annual sales statistics on fuel. Sorry I no longer have the link but sales in the year to 31 Dec were at levels similar to 2003/4 from memory – ie they had dropped about 5%, though I recall thinking there was something funny in the numbers around “other” petroleum products which may have made the overall number misleading. Anyway, the drop was used by the PM as a reason to defer the ETS on fuel.

  54. Billy 55

    Own up to it. Righties like to privatise profits and socialise losses.

    No. If you propose that the government needs to subsidise your business, by definition you are not really right wing.

    The people you cite are not following any ideology, they are just beign opprtunistic.

  55. very close to the 75 cent figure I offered. As we are paying 207 per litre up here in kerkeri I will stand by my “guess”.
    My coments about where we source outr fuel from was to demonstarte that there are many companies involved and not just evrybodies favourite whipping boy BP.
    The current oil price is more to do with the rush of money into oil futures than any supply issue insider.
    Nobody is suggesting there are supply problems.
    I thought his line of argument would have been mana from heaven for you lot?
    Another reason to blame capitalism.
    Oh and the 207 was yesterday, prior to any rises that may have happened today.

  56. Billy. Opportunism is surely the heart of capitalism, wouldn’t you agree?

  57. Policy Parrot 58

    Noone has even mentioned the actual sensible economic reason behind hypertaxation on petrol, diesel etc.

    The reason why we notice it [fuel price increases] more than some other countries is that our fuel excise is in fact, a lot lower than other countries. We have the fourth lowest excise in the OECD, after US, Australia, and Canada. In New Zealand, and in other European countries, taxes on petrol dramatically increased following the 1970s oil shocks. The hypertaxation, sometimes in the order of originally 300%, was a means to protect consumers from future oil shocks, i.e. in NZ, while the price of petrol has doubled, maybe slightly more, the price of a barrel of oil, has in fact multiplied 8x since 2000.

    Cutting fuel excise would harm the economy in the event of future price rises, as the price of oil is more accurately reflected at the pumps. However, as taxes become a smaller proportion of the price of fuel, as has happened, then fuel prices will be less restricted by this maxim.

  58. Billy 59

    Billy. Opportunism is surely the heart of capitalism, wouldn’t you agree?

    No.

    I suspect you think this because you believe being right wing is about doing anything to get rich. There are many rich people who ascribe to no ideology, leaving them free to engage in the sort of essentially left wing activity r0b was complaining of.

  59. burt 60

    So have I got this correct?

    The assertion that govt tax take is not increasing as the retail price increases is crap.

    Govt tax take is increasing and the effect of that “must not reduce tax’ mentality is hitting people with little or no disposable income much harder than people on higher incomes.

  60. Burt, and that is the great irony of high taxation. it always causes pain from the bottom up.

  61. Billy. Opportunism is surely the heart of capitalism, wouldn’t you agree?

    Capitalism has a heart?

  62. Barnsley, burt.

    what are you talking about? The Govt tax take is not increasing because of higher fuel prices. The GST take is constant, just more of it is coming from fuel purchaces now rather than purchases of other things. The levies don’t change with price but price does lower demand (a small amount) meaning less is raised from the levies in total.

    Yes, per litre of petrol the govt is getting more money now because it is getting more GST but that increase is wholly offset by less GST from the purchase of other products that comsumers can’t buy because they’ve spent the money on petrol.

    There is no net increase in govt revenue resulting from oil prices, if anything it is hurting revenue.

  63. burt 64

    Steve P.

    So increasing taxation decreases tax revenue ? Didn’t Roger Douglas try to teach you socialist that many years ago?

  64. T-rex 65

    Don’t be a moron burt.

  65. higherstandard 66

    Surely in a simplistic sense any NZ governments tax take is directly proportional to the total wages paid in an economy plus the privately paid for goods and services consumed – they’ll take more when the economy is booming and less while it is tanking.

  66. higherstandard 67

    sod

    Without the rise of capitalism during the last century we would undoubtedly be in the cak don’t knock it

  67. r0b 68

    I suspect you think this because you believe being right wing is about doing anything to get rich. There are many rich people who ascribe to no ideology, leaving them free to engage in the sort of essentially left wing activity r0b was complaining of.

    OK Billy, these people act right wing, they espouse right wing, they vote right wing, but they aren’t right wing because they take government handouts when it suits them. So for you being right wing is akin to a state of religious purity. If you’ve fallen from grace then by definition you weren’t really ever pure at all. I guess in NZ only you and Michele (bless ‘er) qualify?

    National and Act take state funding, so I’m guessing, not right wing parties?

    Sorry, no, such a position is just daft, the term has no meaning if it doesn’t identify those who run (almost all) big businesses. And they take public help hand over fist when is suits them. Start with http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Corporate_welfare and then google the phrase “corporate welfare”, and away you go.

    Again Billy, it interests me that you are so disturbed by the reality of corporate welfare. There may be hope for you after all. Come over to the left Billy!

  68. higherstandard 69

    rOb

    What dozy drivel.

    Tell me this without these right wingers (whingers as you call them) driving business and profits in NZ would we have the current employment levels in NZ ….would we have the same tax take we now enjoy.

    You can’t despise and berate these people on one hand without accepting that the economy and indeed the public services that NZ enjoys would be stuffed without them.

  69. r0b 70

    What dozy drivel.

    Sorry HS, as usual you read what you want to read, not what I have written.

    Tell me this without these right wingers (whingers as you call them)

    Don’t recall ever saying such a thing.

    You can’t despise and berate these people

    I have done neither. I’m simply pointing out that they are keen to receive corporate welfare if they can. Privatise profits and socialise losses. It’s a perfectly rational strategy for profit maximisation. I have attached no moral judgement (yet!), as usual I’m just trying to establish the facts.

    [Edit: beg pardon – I did call them “shameless” and “hypocritical” – which they are]

    Anyway, got to go and help my local cell group plan the glorious revolution, so, later….

  70. Billy 71

    “these people act right wing…”

    How does this manifest itself?

    “they espouse right wing…”

    If they are saying the taxpayer should subsidise their business they are not espousing right wing.

    “So for you being right wing is akin to a state of religious purity.”

    You are trying to make me sound like a zealot. There are certain fundamental things you need to beleive in to be right wing. If you don’t beleive in them, you’re just not right wing. You’re something else.

    “…it interests me that you are so disturbed by the reality of corporate welfare.”

    How could you claim to be right wing and then demand the taxpayer subsidise your business? The most shameless advocate of corporate welfare in NZ is Jim Anderton. Does he act right wing?

    “Come over to the left Billy!”

    Do you get a minor household appliacne for every convert? How many more till you get the toasted sandwich maker? You all seem very nice, but I just don’t swing that way.

  71. Dean 72

    “You are trying to make me sound like a zealot. There are certain fundamental things you need to beleive in to be right wing. If you don’t beleive in them, you’re just not right wing. You’re something else.”

    If at first r0b doesn’t succeed, he will attempt to label you as something people like him don’t like. Standard 101 for you, right there.

    PS: r0b, I still don’t agree with Ian Wishart, but yes, I still want to know what a certain branch of government had to do at a certain place in the USA over a certain politician’s husband. How does that sit with the party line you’ve been fed as to how you should react to what I’ve said?

  72. higherstandard 73

    Dean

    Urband legend I believe. There’s about as much truth in that rumour as some of the cak you read on this site about Key.

    Did any one else hear about Obama’s Jerusalem gaffe ? Now that was a bigee !

  73. r0b 74

    “these people act right wing ‘
    How does this manifest itself?

    Mostly in the pursuit of capital gain.

    If they are saying the taxpayer should subsidise their business they are not espousing right wing.

    On this we will have to disagree, because it seems to me that right wingers often do this when things get sticky (when the market sends them signals that they don’t like!).

    Do you get a minor household appliacne for every convert? How many more till you get the toasted sandwich maker?

    Nothing so flash, just a set of steak knives. But if I had a set of steak knives I could start saving up for a steak!

    You all seem very nice, but I just don’t swing that way.

    Oh Brad Billy, you’ve wasted so much time already.

  74. Rex Widerstrom 75

    Alright, since there’s no effort to reference the claim that:

    Every cent (and then some) of tax collected on fuel goes into roading costs

    I found the time to do Steve’s research for him. According to no less a source than Dr Cullen:

    When this Government came into office only 42 per cent of fuel excise duty on petrol was retained in the National Land Transport Fund. Now the income flow is in the opposite direction.

    Sounds good. So it’s all spent on roading costs then, Mike?

    General taxation is now subsidising the restoration and extension of the rail network, the massive upgrading of the road system, and the largest increase in public transport expenditure in our history.

    Ohhh… so the fuel levy and some of the money in the Consolidated Account is spent on roads and public transport and… paying over the odds for a clapped out rusty train set. Not quite the impression given by the statement that “every cent and then some” is spent on roads.

    In fact if the excise were invested in straightening and improving many of NZ’s roads, not only would they be immeasurably safer but vehicles would use less fuel traversing them.

    I haven’t been able to ascertain the relative proportions of fuel excise vs general taxes that make up this “transport pool”. Perhaps someone else can help with the figures?

  75. Dean 76

    “Did any one else hear about Obama’s Jerusalem gaffe ? Now that was a bigee !”

    Shhh. Tony’s over there campaigning on his behalf. Obama says and does no wrong. It’s the mantra of the self confessed left.

    Give it a few years and they’ll be denying he even said it to begin with.

  76. Dean 77

    “In fact if the excise were invested in straightening and improving many of NZ’s roads, not only would they be immeasurably safer but vehicles would use less fuel traversing them.”

    To be fair, no government in NZ has ever done that.

    But at least you and I know this.

    Which is not at all what SP would have you believe, is it. Bloody facts. They always get in the way of a good party political broadcast when the chips are down.

  77. Billy 78

    Billy: How does this manifest itself?
    r0b: Mostly in the pursuit of capital gain.

    Being right wing isn’t about the pursuit of capital gain. You can be a greedy left-winger (I know some). In part it’s about self-reliance but that’s not the same thing.

  78. r0b 79

    Of course you can be a greedy lefty, but greedy righties are far more common.

    But I’m interested Billy, since you reject bankers and property merchants and the pursuit of capital as characteristic of the label “right wing”, well then, just what does this label mean to you?

  79. Billy 80

    BTW, nice RHPS reference.

  80. r0b 81

    They don’t make them like RHPS any more. They really really don’t.

    I first saw it at a semi-open screening where they were playing it over and over – I walked in on the last 15 minutes. Try making sense of that out of the blue! Heh.

    Now I’m all nostalgic. iTunes, cue sound track…

  81. Billy 82

    “But I’m interested Billy, since you reject bankers and property merchants and the pursuit of capital as characteristic of the label “right wing’, well then, just what does this label mean to you?”

    Obviously, something quite different to what it means to you.

    At the very grave risk of reducing it to bumper-sticker glibness it’s about: self reliance, self-important busybodies (no matter how well intentioned) staying out of your life, the individual being in control of her own life, doing things that are bad for you if you really want to and if it’s rocking don’t bother knocking.

    If being rich is important to you (and it seems to be for some people) being right wing allows you to do that. It’s not considered necessary, however.

    Unfortunately, I get the sense that my second paragraph didn’t capture it adequately and that I will never get that waffle iron my supervisor has promised me.

  82. Billy 83

    I make my kids sing the hotdog song (“you’re a hotdog but you’d better not try to hurt her, Frankfurter”) before they get a frankfurter. They hate it. And yet, they banned smacking

    Strangely, this may be the first real personal detail I have offerred on this blog.

  83. r0b 84

    At the very grave risk of reducing it to bumper-sticker glibness

    All I can manage at this time of night.

    it’s about: self reliance, self-important busybodies (no matter how well intentioned) staying out of your life, the individual being in control of her own life

    Ok, a libertarian then?

    What happens to those that can’t take care of themselves in this world? Who builds the roads and the schools? Who stops people with guns taking whatever they want?

    Unfortunately, I get the sense that my second paragraph didn’t capture it adequately and that I will never get that waffle iron my supervisor has promised me.

    A waffle iron! Maybe I’m on the wrong side after all.

  84. r0b 85

    They hate it. And yet, they banned smacking

    I’ll alert the 9th floor at once!

    Strangely, this may be the first real personal detail I have offerred on this blog.

    Thus RHPS brings out the best in all of us.

  85. Strangely, this may be the first real personal detail I have offerred on this blog.

    What about your incontinence and one-leggedness??? You mean you were lying to me??? Nooooooooooooo!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    Oh well. Onward and upward. There’s a brand of leftness that pretty much ticks all of your boxes Billy-boy. And we ain’t interferin’ woolly liberals…

  86. Billy 87

    “There’s a brand of leftness that pretty much ticks all of your boxes Billy-boy. ”

    I’m always willing to learn something new. What’s that, then?

  87. Why the libertarian left of course. That’s where the state takes your taxes and provides for decent social welfare but fucks off out of your personal life. Kinda like your libertarianism but with difference being that security comes from health, education and general wellbeing rather than from police, defense and property rights. If you ever get around to reading Marx you’ll see the story ends with the withering of the state…

    Come to think of it it’s kinda like the Greens way of doing things but without Kedgley and Locke. Oh but they piss me off…

  88. Stephen 89

    don’t forget the druuuuugs…

  89. outofbed 90

    don’t forget the druuuuugs

    and that is relevant how ?

  90. outofbed 91

    Robinsod
    Piss you off maybe, but will they put you off voting the Green team ?

  91. Stephen 92

    Libertarian left = a lot of drug law liberalisation, which I think would require some wellbeing ensured by police. yup

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