Labour MP Louisa Wall praises Auckland fuel tax for keeping rates down

The AM Show 29/06/2018

A south Auckland-based Labour MP says she "feels wonderful" about the upcoming regional fuel tax, as it means the council won't be putting up her rates much.

From July 1, Aucklanders will pay 11.5c more per litre of petrol. The money's earmarked for transport projects, aimed at easing the city's notorious congestion.

MP Louisa Wall says Auckland Council won't have to put rates up more than the planned 2.5 and 3.5 percent hikes because it provides "certainty" its spending plans can be paid for.

"As a property owner, I feel wonderful that the council have now committed to only 2.5 percent rate increases," she told The AM Show on Friday.

National has criticised the tax hike, saying poorer Aucklanders will be hardest hit - including those in Ms Wall's Manurewa electorate, according to transport spokeswoman and MP for the neighbouring Papakura electorate, Judith Collins.

"Papakura, Manurewa people are going to actually have to pay for this a lot more. And I think one of the things with fuel is you have to use it - it's not like you can choose to buy more expensive food or more expensive clothes or whatever, therefore you end up paying more GST - it's not like that. Everyone needs to use petrol or diesel."

In contrast, Ms Wall says west and south Aucklanders are actually the biggest beneficiaries of Auckland Council and Labour's long-term plan to spend up on public transport.

"This whole beat-up about beneficiaries are going to be the most affected actually doesn't ring true, because they're the least likely to own a car. Public transport, for some communities, actually is a better option."

Ms Collins says National will scrap one of those planned options - the tram down Dominion Rd - as long as construction isn't already underway.

"There's no way that that's going through when added congestion will occur down Dominion Rd."

The regional fuel tax might stay, however.

"We may not be able to [reverse it] because of the commitments Labour's made around constructions."

She said National would also have to rethink adding more excise tax on, as it did six times when last in power.

"I don't think that we will actually, because we've such a noise about the regional fuel tax. I think it would be very difficult for us to do so."

Transport Minister Phil Twyford says the average weekly cost per Auckland household will be $5.77, with wealthier households looking at a hike of $7.71 and the poorest $3.64.

Watch the full interview with Louisa Wall and Judith Collins above.

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