Last Thursday, 8 February, Prime Minister Christopher Luxon announced that the Auckland regional fuel tax will be scrapped on 30 June. This tax was introduced in July 2018 under the previous Labour-led government. It added 11.5 cents (including GST) per litre of fuel for Aucklanders.
Scrapping the fuel tax was one of the National Party’s campaign promises and is part of the plan for the government’s first 100 days. The Prime Minister said it would lower the cost of filling some cars with petrol by between $5.75 and $9.20. He said reducing the price of fuel would ease the pressure on people who are struggling with the cost of living, particularly those on lower incomes who have less fuel-efficient vehicles.
The regional fuel tax was meant to help fund new transport projects in Auckland. By September 2023 it raised around $780 million. Although the government said that only half of that amount had been spent, the mayor of Auckland, Wayne Brown, argued that the remaining $341 million had already been allocated to several transport projects. He is not happy that the council is losing the funding that the regional tax brought in, and yesterday he asked Auckland Transport to stop work immediately on projects funded by the regional fuel tax. These include some busways and road developments.
The mayor has promised, however, not to increase rates for Aucklanders because that would just raise people’s costs again. Instead, he will discuss with the council and government what other funding options may be available. He also said that Auckland wants to make its own decisions about transport, and that Wellington – that is, the government in Wellington – should not decide what projects will be done in Auckland.
scrapped – if something is scrapped, it is no longer used
fuel – petrol or diesel
campaign – a series of activities that are intended to achieve a particular aim. In politics, a campaign promise is something a political party promises that they will do if they are elected.
fuel-efficient vehicle – if a vehicle (a car or truck) is fuel-efficient, it does not use as much fuel as other vehicles travelling the same distance
fund – to provide money for something
allocate – to use something for a particular purpose. If money is allocated to a project, it has been decided to use that money for the project. rates – a tax that owners of houses and buildings pay to their local government