Govt plans lack a man­date

The Northland Age - - Local Life / Opinion - Dr Muriel New­man

The cost of liv­ing is on the rise, due largely to the record prices that New Zealan­ders are now pay­ing at the petrol pump. Petrol has hit $2.40 and more for the first-time, and then the ‘no new taxes’ Labour govern­ment im­posed a new petrol ex­cise tax, adding an­other 3.5 cents per litre, plus GST. This means most mo­torists are now pay­ing well over $100 to fill their tanks.

And to make mat­ters worse, the govern­ment is plan­ning a 12.1 per cent in­crease in the av­er­age mo­tor ve­hi­cle ACC levy. This will add a fur­ther 1.9 cents, plus GST, to the cost per litre, tak­ing the to­tal ACC levy to 7.9 cents a litre.

ACC is con­sult­ing on this pro­posal, and a de­ci­sion on the levy will be made by the govern­ment in De­cem­ber.

The Au­to­mo­bile As­so­ci­a­tion es­ti­mates that of the price of petrol at the pump, just over a quar­ter is the ac­tual cost of re­fined fuel, and around 50 per cent is tax. Of that tax, some 67 cents per litre is fixed ex­cise, 4.7 cents is an Emis­sions Trad­ing Scheme car­bon levy, and GST is, of course, added on top. In ad­di­tion, Auck­lan­ders have to pay an ex­tra 10 cents a litre as a re­gional fuel tax.

But this is not the end of the mat­ter. Labour has al­ready an­nounced there will be two more 3.5 cents a litre ex­cise tax in­creases, one in 2019 and the other in 2020. In ad­di­tion, fur­ther in­creases are also likely as part of the govern­ment’s zero car­bon pro­gramme.

Ac­cord­ing to the Pro­duc­tiv­ity Com­mis­sion, to achieve their zero car­bon goals, the cur­rent 4.7 cents a litre Emis­sions Trad­ing Scheme car­bon levy will need to be in­creased to around 55 cents per litre. If such an in­crease was im­ple­mented, it would take the av­er­age price of petrol to over $3 a litre — and have a knock-on ef­fect on all other goods and ser­vices as well.

The party re­spon­si­ble for push­ing the ex­trem­ist po­si­tion on cli­mate change is, of course, the Greens. Their poli­cies are dan­ger­ous, and could do con­sid­er­able dam­age to our econ­omy. As fa­nat­i­cal ide­al­ists, they ap­pear blind to the dev­as­tat­ing im­pact their de-in­dus­tri­al­i­sa­tion agenda would have on liv­ing stan­dards and peo­ple’s lives.

But it’s not just the Greens that are to blame for what’s to come — Labour is call­ing the shots, and New Zealand First is sup­port­ing them.

What’s worse is that their zero car­bon plan never re­ceived a man­date from vot­ers. All we got at elec­tion time were glib slo­gans. No one pro­vided de­tails of what was be­ing pro­posed.

When Jacinda Ardern failed to spell out the de­tails of her cap­i­tal gains tax dur­ing the elec­tion cam­paign, the de­ci­sion was made to only en­act the pol­icy if the pub­lic sup­ported it at the next elec­tion. Shouldn’t it be the same for zero car­bon poli­cies?

Now that the de­tails are emerg­ing from re­search re­ports, such as the pos­si­bil­ity of a 55 cents a litre car­bon tax on petrol, or that pas­toral farm­ing out­puts would be re­duced by 60 per cent, surely, for changes of this mag­ni­tude, a man­date should be ob­tained from vot­ers at the next elec­tion.

"As fa­nat­i­cal ide­al­ists, the Greens ap­pear blind to the dev­as­tat­ing im­pact their dein­dus­tri­al­i­sa­tion agenda would have on liv­ing stan­dards and peo­ple’s lives. "

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