31 May 2018
Auckland Council’s controversial 11.5 cents a litre fuel tax has been approved by councillors at a budget meeting today.
Councillors voted 13-7 to approve the extra cost for motorists today.
Legislation allowing the tax is expected to be passed in Parliament to allow the tax to come into effect on July 1.
Auckland drivers face paying 25c a litre more in the next three years as the Government also proposes boosting fuel taxes in 3c to 4c annual hikes.
Motorists filling up with 91 unleaded this morning were able to get a best price of $2.03 a litre at the Gull Wiri self-service station in South Auckland, but more typically paid between $2.07 and $2.19 a litre, according to the Gaspy app.
A handful of service stations charged $2.20 or more a litre and the two Z stations near Auckland Airport posted the most expensive prices at $2.29 a litre.
Those wanting premium 95 unleaded had to dip a little deeper into their wallets, facing prices ranging from $2.14 to $2.41 a litre.
Mayor Phil Goff said the tax was critical to help pay for projects to improve transport after years and years of under investment.
“We cannot allow our city to gridlock and that is what we are heading toward,” he said.
Goff said the tax would raise $1.5 billion over 10 years but Government subsidies and development contributions would increase that to $4.3b.
To raise that money through rates would require a 13 per cent to 14 per cent rise.
The regional fuel tax was the fastest, cheapest and best way to raise spending to tackle traffic congestion, said the mayor.
Without the extra money, Goff said, the city would grind to a halt.
Manurewa-Papakura councillor Daniel Newman, the only councillor to advocate for higher rates as the way forward, said the tax would lead to a redistribution of wealth from some of the poorest people to those who have the greatest wealth and choice.
“I don’t think that is fair,” he said.
Councillor Chris Darby said the tax would lead to significant benefits across the city, as well as social and economic benefits.
“This regional fuel tax allows us to shift gears in Auckland in a way we have not seen before: out of planning and into delivery,” he said.
National MP Jami-Lee Ross said Aucklanders would not forgive Auckland Council and the Labour Government’s decisions to impose fuel taxes.
“They certainly won’t forget it every time it costs them more to fill up their cars.”
Ross said consultation had identified that 51 per cent of Aucklanders opposed the regional fuel tax.
“This new tax is not needed. If Auckland Council simply followed through on Mayor Goff’s promise to find between 3-6 per cent of savings in the council’s budget they could easily find the money that the fuel tax would raise,” he said.
“Instead, Auckland Council has been given the ‘tax and spend’ keys by Transport Minister Phil Twyford and hard-working New Zealanders will be paying the cost.”
How councillors voted
Mayor Phil Goff
Deputy Mayor Bill Cashmore
• Barry Soper: The hypocrisy of the Govt’s petrol tax position
• Aucklanders to have say on regional petrol tax before knowing how it will be spent
• Ken Shirley: Fuel tax poorly thought out solution to transport costs