A re-elected National Party will overturn the Government’s regional fuel tax to leave more money in the back pockets of hard-working New Zealand families, National Party Leader Simon Bridges says.

“Regional fuel taxes are unfair on New Zealanders. They are regressive, and hit poorer New Zealanders the hardest.

“The fuel taxes the Government has announced will leave a typical Auckland family around $700 a year out of pocket.

“The regional fuel tax is simply punishing Aucklanders for the Government and the Council’s lack of fiscal discipline.”

Mr Bridges made the announcement at his first economic speech today as National Party Leader, where he laid out his principle that the economy must work for New Zealand families and New Zealanders should be able to keep more of what they earn.

“Governments must manage the economy and its spending in a way that ensures hard work is rewarded and taxpayer money is not wasted by a lack of planning and bad spending decisions. Regional fuel taxes violate that principle.

“They impose more costs on families, while letting Councils off the hook for expenditure they should already be prioritising.

“Auckland Council is a clear case in point. We know it is a free spender of rate-payers money. It was true under Len Brown and it’s true under Phil Goff.

“All the regional fuel tax does is take the pressure off the council to do a better job of controlling and prioritising spending, and instead puts that pressure directly on Auckland families. It’s a disguised rates increase.

“And while Auckland will be hit first we know the legislation means it can be rolled out nationally, despite Labour promising before the election they wouldn’t. Already Christchurch is saying it wants it.

“National will stop the rot. We know you can invest in world-class transport infrastructure without regional fuel taxes. We built Waterview and new roads and bridges around the country out of fuel taxes, while at the same time investing in Auckland and Wellington commuter rail infrastructure out of the consolidated fund.

“All it requires is a diligent, disciplined approach to spending taxpayers’ money.

“Labour should do the same. They need to keep their hands out of New Zealanders pockets and stop putting family budgets under more pressure.

“And to Councils I say don’t get used to this raid on the back pockets of hard working New Zealanders because a re-elected National Government will repeal this tax.”

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