18 May 2013

Parliament passes rise in petrol tax

7:55 pm on 18 May 2013

Parliament has passed a bill locking in petrol tax increases for the next three years, rising after a rare under urgency Saturday night sitting.

The House went into urgency on Thursday afternoon to debate five bills arising from this week's Budget.

The last of them, the Customs and Excise (Budget Measures - Motor Spirits) Amendment Bill, was passed through all of its stages on Saturday, ending with a third reading vote at 7.15pm.

The Bill puts in place petrol tax increases of 3 cents a litre for the next three years. It was passed by 67 votes to 26.

The Green and Mana parties supported the Government's tax increase and voted in favour of the Bill, along with National, Act and United Future.

Labour, New Zealand First and Independent MP Brendan Horan voted against the Bill.

Transport Minister Gerry Brownlee said on Saturday the money will be spent on specific roads of national significance.

He said it is worth noting that motorists save time and use fuel more efficiently as a result of improvements to roads.

The Green Party voted in favour of the petrol tax increase, but does not support what the Government intends to spend it on.

Green Party MP, Gareth Hughes, told Parliament while supporting the tax increase, the party would rather see it invested in efficient vehicles and public transport.

He said the Government's transport plan is stuck in the 1960s.

Meanwhile New Zealand First says provincial areas are missing out on the funding that will be raised from an increase in petrol tax.

New Zealand First MP Andrew Williams said most roads of national significance projects are in the upper North Island.

And he told Parliament that is unfair to people in other parts of the country, including Dipton, which is in finance minister Bill English's electorate.