Auckland motorists revolt over proposed fuel tax
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Some Auckland motorists are threatening to fill up out of town, and even leave the city, to avoid a new regional petrol tax expected to be 10c a litre.
Comments flowing into the New Zealand Herald newsdesk this morning are running heavily against the new tax, planned by the new Labour-led Government to help fund light rail to the airport and other transport projects.
But a readers' poll on the Herald website is more evenly split, showing 49 per cent of 13,300 people so far opposed to the tax, 42 per cent support it and 7 per cent say "maybe".
Gavin Logan of Avondale said: "No I will not be happy to pay this tax if it is introduced and will make sure that every time I am out of the Auckland Council area that I fill my car to the max to avoid as much of this tax as I can."
Jason Churchill, who owns his home in Waiuku and works locally, said he would consider moving just over the border into the Waikato District to avoid the tax.
"We did not choose to be part of Auckland and these trams will not benefit my life one bit I am dead against it," he wrote. "If the fuel tax didn't include us I would probably stay."
Light Rail tram on Dominion Road artist impression for Auckland. Picture supplied by Auckland Transport
Rural Waiuku resident Chris Furse echoed him, writing: "We would only go to Auckland three or four times a year as hate the place. A toll is a much better and fairer system."
Readers branded new Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern "Taxinda" and named the tax the "Twyford Tax" after new Transport Minister Phil Twyford.
Tom and Julia Kinzett spoke for many in parts of the region that don't have rail, commenting: "So again the majority are going to have to fork out for a selected few. What benefits are there for someone living in east or north Auckland?"
"I live in rural north Auckland. I have no choice but to use my car as there is no public transport," another reader said.
Another wrote: "I live in Howick, what use is it to me, just like the trains I fund now through my rates? No trains in this area."
Many readers voice concerns for low-income workers who won't be able to afford the tax.
A solo mum who moved to Waiuku to afford a house and pays $200 a week to drive to work in Greenlane said she struggled to feed her two children.
"This will just put extra pressure where there is enough stress and pressure already thank you," she said.
Mary Cleland wrote: "This fuel tax will impact on those who cannot afford central Auckland and must commute. Often these are the parents of young families, paying mortgages and often still burdened with student loans. Their budgets will be seriously affected by another tax. This is not helping struggling young families."
Kelsey Short said: "Copying Australia with the fuel tax. Difference is Aus fuel sits between $1.10 and $1.50 not like NZ fuel @ $1.70-$2. For a country with such a low minimum pay majority will struggle even more."
Scott Prouse said simply: "Helping the homeless or creating more?"
Others commented that they would never use light rail to get to the airport with luggage.
"Who is going to get public transport to the city with all their baggage to then get a tram to the airport?" asked Sarah Blong.
But the tax also has supporters.
Shaun Coffee-Todd wrote: "As someone who lives in Auckland and who would be directly impacted by a regional fuel tax, I fully support it. My only caveat is that 100 per cent of revenue raised should be used to fund transport projects in greater Auckland only."
Mt Eden resident David Rees said a regional fuel tax and a London-style charge on people driving into central Auckland "makes economic and social sense".
"Glad to hear we are past the political rhetoric and getting on with the job!" he wrote.
John Lamb wrote: "When in Rome you do as the Romans do - when choosing to live in Auckland you must accept the good with the bad and PAY!"
Janet Lee said: "Trams in Europe and Scandinavia are very efficient. This might help Auckland's dire public transport move into the 21st century."
Another reader said: "Too many Aucklanders refuse to use public transport and they are destroying the planet doing so. I hope that this enables public transport to extend its hours to cover those that work outside of normal business hours a bit more too."
Alex Fletcher said: "We have an unhealthy use of private cars in our biggest city and it needs to change."
Chris Morgan asked: "To anyone angry with this, have you travelled outside Auckland ever? Us Auckland folk have the cheapest fuel anywhere in the country by far, I for one am happy to support an extra tax if it means our public transport/roads are improved faster."
Non-Aucklander Jason Keoghan said: "Finally a Labour policy I agree with. The rest of the country has been subsidising Auckland's fuel and roading. It's time they paid for it themselves. User pays. They choose to live there so fair enough."
Mark Keenan, also an out-of-towner, said: "About time they paid for their own infrastructure."
And Dillon Ratima wrote: "I don't know about the rest of yous but I support the introduction of public transport, Auckland has been needing it for years."