Good work form the Greens and Newsroom (Shane Cowlishaw):
The Government has been investigating fuel tax increases to plug holes in its transport budget, despite ruling them out during the election campaign.
Before the election Labour announced it would, if elected, introduce a 10 cent regional fuel tax in Auckland to help meet transport costs, and suggested the Government was itself already modelling a nationwide fuel tax increase to pay for its new motorways.
National denied this, saying there were no plans for a fuel tax and pointing the finger at Labour as the party planning to raise taxes.
But, according to documents released to the Greens under the Official Information Act, the Government appears to have at least been considering the possibility.
A later briefing in July followed a request from Bridges for advice on the funding implications of delivering “nationally significant urban corridors in Auckland over the next decade”. One of the new roads of national significance is the $1b Mill Rd corridor in south Auckland.
A redacted graph is included in this briefing that appears to outline petrol excise duty alongside the Consumer Price Index.
In a separate document of internal Ministry analysis, however, a similar graph is unredacted and models a five cent fuel tax increase in 2018, followed by increases of between 10 to 20 cents over the next decade.
Throughout the documents mention is made about the release of the Government’s policy statement on land transport funding (GPS 2018), essentially the transport budget for the year.
In an August briefing the Ministry noted the GPS was ready for release and included measures to plug most of the ATAP gap, with a target release date set for the end of the month before Parliament rose before the election.
The document has yet to be released.
Buried until after the election.
Newsroom wanted to talk to Bridges about the possibility of fuel tax increases and why the GPS had not been released to the public but his office declined, saying it was innappropriate considering the Government was in caretaker mode. …
Well well. Read the whole piece on Newsroom.