In an affront to democracy, the Associate Transport Minister has discarded public submissions from at least 1000 people who don’t support her Government’s car tax proposal, Leader of the Opposition Simon Bridges says.
Documents released under the Official Information Act reveal Julie Anne Genter’s ministry blocked New Zealanders from submitting on the vehicle feebate proposal via a website set up by National because it considered their contributions to be “spam”.
A total of 1594 people made formal submissions on the proposal through National’s website while another 14,060 people signed a petition to stop Labour’s car tax.
It is unclear clear whether any of the submissions that made it through to the ministry before it moved to block them were even counted as part of the public consultation.
National is now calling on the Associate Transport Minister to reopen public consultation so that all New Zealanders who want to participate in this important debate can do so.
“It is utterly unacceptable for a Minister to ignore submissions from people who don’t agree with her, and to even go as far as blocking opposing views,” Mr Bridges says.
“It’s hypocritical for the Government to block submissions on forms supplied by National when it had no problem accepting 4190 submissions on the Zero Carbon Bill that were based on forms supplied by the likes of Generation Zero, Greenpeace and Forest & Bird.
“We now know Julie Anne Genter was being liberal with the truth when she said in August that about 80 per cent of online responses supported the car tax.
“She was ignoring the thousands who spoke out against the proposal through submissions and National’s petition. The reality is most New Zealanders do not support Labour’s car tax.
“National didn’t bend anyone’s arm to speak up. These people did so out of genuine concern about being stung up to $3000 for not buying a low-emission vehicle.
“This is yet more evidence that this Government can’t be trusted on transport and Julie Anne Genter cannot be trusted to operate in a fair, open and transparent manner.
“She must now do the right thing and reopen public submissions, as well as explain to New Zealanders why she will only entertain people who share her way of looking at things.”