27 Oct 2017

Phil Goff defends fuel tax idea

11:16 am on 27 October 2017

Auckland mayor Phil Goff has defended the idea of a fuel tax saying it's the best way to start to pay for $27 billion of necessary transport infrastructure in the city.

Phil Goff on the day he was elected Auckland mayor. 8 October 2016.

Auckland mayor Phil Goff Photo: RNZ / Diego Opatowski

Minister for Transport Phil Twyford told Morning Report yesterday the government was open to legislating to introduce a Auckland regional petrol tax, something the previous government had ruled out.

Mr Goff said he would meet with Mr Twyford to see how soon they could bring in new legislation to impose the 10-cents a litre tax on Aucklanders.

Regional mayors have backed the idea of introducing different infrastructure funding methods, but a fuel tax was not the preferred option.

Auckland Mayor Phil Goff told Morning Report this morning the city needed to spend $27 billion on transport infrastructure in Auckland over the next decade.

"That's got to be paid for somehow.

"Now if I say to anyone 'do you want to pay for a particular tax' they'll say 'no' because none of us like paying a tax.

"But if I say to people 'would you rather us do nothing and therefore we will face gridlock in Auckland, or would you rather us address this problem and start to put in place the infrastructure needed to reduce the frustration and the massive productivity losses that Auckland is facing', then they say 'of course you've got to act'."

He said the public had made clear that the preference was for a fuel tax rather than road tolls, and tolls were also more expensive to implement.

'We have a pressing need now for the funding."

He said a fuel tax was the most effective and efficient way of helping fund transport infrastructure.

"At least it has some element of user pays to it which raising general rates doesn't.

"So people in Auckland will have the benefit of not paying the interim transport levy, so they'll make savings on that side, but they will pay a bit more for their petrol."

He said the fuel tax would enable the city to raise $1.2bn towards the infrastructure deficit.

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