So what’s the big news from Government that affects our area? I would pick that the Land Transport Management (Regional Fuel Tax) Amendment Bill, which will allow Auckland Council to add up to 10c per litre on our fuel bills, is probably right up there. And we here in Rodney, like other Aucklanders, are likely to be hit with a double whammy, with a proposed increase to nationwide fuel excise of an average of around three cents per year for three years. The fact that the excise would be for a period of no more than 10 years, and that Auckland Council must first consult with residents on the proposed projects it wishes to fund before any regional fuel tax can be implemented, probably gives us cold comfort. It is also of little comfort that under the last government, fuel excise went up six times – I mean over one six year period, it went up 17 cents – or that the last government had a trajectory for it to go up around another 20 cents. Remember this from a December 2012 press release?
“The Government will increase petrol excise duty by three cents a litre on 1 July 2013, 1 July 2014 and 1 July 2015,” Transport Minister Gerry Brownlee says. “Road user charges will also be increased by an equivalent amount.”
Nope, that doesn’t make us feel one bit better. Now if we saw the money that we here in the North of Auckland (because let’s not forget that is who we are now, North Auckland) paid out in fuel excise spent on our rural and local roads we might feel a little less ripped off. I get it. Believe me, I have articulated all your concerns at the top table. Now I need those of you affected to also bring your voice to the table.
I support the Government’s aim to create a resilient, efficient, safe and responsible transport system. But, like you, I want some of that public transport here. And I am pretty sure all of us could point to a regional/rural road that hasn’t had the maintenance it should have had for the past decade. In its dying days, the previous Government allocated $2 million for “consultation and design” around Hill Street – wouldn’t it be a good idea to push for more allocation and speed on what has been decades in the talking? If there is a focus on road safety, then surely the Dome Valley should be on the list for safety improvements? Motorway or no motorway, that road will still be used by locals and they need to be safe.
So I am asking for your help to reinforce the arguments I am articulating around roading deficits in our area. The Government Policy Statement (GPS) on Land Transport 2018 covers the period 2018/19 to 2027/28, setting out Government’s priorities for land transport and guiding the allocation of over $4 billion a year from the National Land Transport Fund by the New Zealand Transport Agency. Engagement on the draft GPS closes at 5pm, 2 May. I will have some printed copies at my office in Warkworth or visit: transport.govt.nz/ourwork/keystrategiesandplans/gpsonlandtransportfunding
Tracey Martin, NZ First MP