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Reports that the Transport Minister is coaching councils behind the scenes on how to best impose new fuel taxes around New Zealand shows a woeful disregard for the expenses he is imposing on New Zealanders, National’s transport spokesperson Jami-Lee Ross says.

“Labour’s regional fuel tax was campaigned on and marketed as an Auckland only tax but Transport Minister Phil Twyford has shown that he is preparing to roll new taxes out across the country as fast as he can – and he’s asking councils to help him do it.

“Not only has Mr Twyford passed a new law which allows for every region of New Zealand to have a fuel tax imposed on it but he is now showing councils how to successfully apply for this new tax.

“This is duplicitous. In public Mr Twyford has rebuffed the idea that other regions will be eligible for fuel taxes but behind closed doors he’s working to make it happen.

“These new taxes won’t be part of an election campaign and they won’t go back to a Select Committee for consultation. All that will be needed is for the Minister to approve the plans he is helping councils to prepare. 

“What the Government seems to be forgetting is that increasing the cost of fuel has a real impact on people and with fuel prices increasing 20 cents a litre in the past year before the new taxes kick in, this will hurt hardworking New Zealanders.

“National’s plan for transport does not need regional fuel taxes, it needs a Government willing to work with local councils to ensure projects can be funded fairly from savings in budgets and from sound investment – and from a growing economy.

“What we see here is a Government who has no other ideas except new taxes but who is refusing to be honest about its intentions, all the while it is making it harder for New Zealanders to get ahead.”

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