4 May 2018

Wellington council offers to join fuel tax plan

1:30 pm on 4 May 2018

Greater Wellington Regional Council would implement a fuel tax if legislation before the house is passed, it says.

Fuel pump.

Fuel pump. Photo: RNZ / Alexander Robertson

Under the proposed law change the regional fuel tax can be charged in Auckland and, from 2021, councils in other areas would also be able to implement one.

Council chair Chris Laidlaw said the tax would be put toward transport infrastructure developments.

"We already have several business cases in front of the government under consideration for rail improvements through the region including the Wairarapa ... there are a variety of projects emerging from the 'Lets Get Wellington Moving' exercise, which is nearing completion," Mr Laidlaw said.

He said the cost of these projects meant the council needed all the help it could get.

"They have to be paid for and the local government sector simply doesn't have the resources to do this and our rates rises are heavy enough as it is," he said.

He said introducing a regional fuel tax was the most sensible way of raising money for the expensive projects.

"The government is interested in providing other sources of income to help regional councils in particular to fund the huge backload of maintenance on rail and other public transport services in general, so it's a good idea."

He said introducing it in 2021 would give the council scope to plan how the regional fuel tax would work when combined with other initiatives, such as congestion tax and additional parking charges.

Energy Minister Megan Woods told Morning Report today the government would not reduce any existing fuel taxes to make petrol cheaper.

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