Fuel tax to force price-seek­ing: Sta­tions

North Shore Times - - LOCALJOBS - RUWADE BRYANT AND JAY BORE­HAM

Fuel com­pa­nies are eye­ing up a stretch of State High­way 1 just out­side Auck­land to a dodge the city’s new re­gional fuel tax.

Com­pa­nies ex­pect to see mo­torists flee­ing Auck­land’s in­flated fuel prices by cross­ing the bor­der into Waikato and North­land in a bid to beat the newly ap­proved su­per-city tax.

The length of SH1 run­ning north 13.5km from Te Hana on Auck­land’s north­ern bor­der through to Kai­waka, where the next sta­tion is, makes for lu­cra­tive op­tions.

Z En­ergy and Cal­tex spokesman Jonathan Hill said de­tails of the tax were still sketchy, but clearly de­fined bound­aries of­fered op­por­tu­ni­ties to build new sta­tions.

When prices changed con­sid­er­ably sta­tions wit­nessed peo­ple turn­ing up with trailer loads of jerry cans to stock­pile, Hill said.

‘‘I wouldn’t be sur­prised if com­pa­nies bore that in mind when they de­cided to in­vest.’’

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Auck­land mayor Phil Goff has wel­comed the tax say­ing the city must pay its share for ‘‘des­per­ately needed’’ projects.

At Kai­waka Cal­tex in North­land, 10km past the Auck­land bound­ary, owner Harmeet Marzara said he wasn’t ex­pect­ing an in­flux of tax-avoid­ing mo­torists - but he might be pleas­antly sur­prised.

At Gaso­line Al­ley in Te Hana, which is just in­side the city bound­ary, owner See­man­shu Jain was ex­pect­ing a huge im­pact.

He said his cus­tomers mainly trav­elled be­tween re­gions, or were res­i­dents from nearby North­land towns look­ing for a cheaper price. ‘‘They’ll stop com­ing,’’ he said.

Sit­ting in their Jucy rental camper out­side Jain’s sta­tion, Ger­man tourists Ste­fanie Farner and Nils Bergner con­firmed they would keep bump­ing along the pot-holed high­way to Kai­waka and avoid the tax.

Gull gen­eral man­ager Dave Bodger be­lieved truck driv­ers would add run­ning tanks to in­crease fuel ca­pac­ity, and avoid Auck­land sta­tions.

He said it was naive of the Gov­ern­ment to ex­pect the same vol­ume of fuel would be sold in Auck­land fol­low­ing the im­ple­men­ta­tion of a tax, and there was a risk of a black mar­ket.

Bodger be­lieved it was im­per­a­tive the Gov­ern­ment con­sulted the oil in­dus­try over the taxes col­lec­tion, re­bates for in­dus­tries and a polic­ing mech­a­nism.

JAY BORE­HAM/ STUFF

Te Hana Gaso­line Al­ley owner See­man­shu Jain says his sta­tion’s fu­ture doesn’t look bright with the pend­ing in­tro­duc­tion of an Auck­land re­gion fuel tax.

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