The Government’s transport announcement earlier this week which aims to improve public transport infrastructure is a welcomed move, but it shouldn’t be funded by a petrol tax that will disproportionately affect poor people. A 10c per litre tax increase in Auckland will mean that households that households with older vehicles will have to front up an extra $150 a year, compared to $65 for those with hybrids or fuel efficient vehicles.
“Auckland Action Against Poverty is calling on the Labour led Government to find alternatives to its proposed petrol tax in order to fund its transport projects. A petrol tax would put the greatest burden to communities living in poverty, who are often reliant on old, less petrol efficient cars to get around the city”, says Ricardo Menendez March, Auckland Action Against Poverty Coordinator.
“Housing and Urban Development Minister Phil Twyford seems to be ok with placing the cost on our poorest communities, acknowledgement that low-income families are the most reliant on cars because of the geographical inequities that exist in our cities. If the Minister wanted to reduce transport costs for low-income families, he would be looking for alternatives to a petrol tax.
“The Government has once again hamstrung itself by its unwillingness to introduce progressive taxation or increase Government spending in order to meet the costs of much needed infrastructure projects, instead relying on regressive taxes that do nothing to redistribute wealth in this country.
“There are far more equitable taxes that would allow the Government to fund better public transport infrastructure, as well as reduce carbon emissions. A tax on speculative transactions, or a tax on wealth, would prove far more progressive and not place a burden on our poorest communities.
“It’s disingenuous for the Labour led Government to champion poverty reduction while implementing regressive taxes that will make it harder for our poorest to make ends meet. If the Government is genuinely committed to reducing the wealth gap in this country, they will avoid implementing regressive taxes in the future and can its petrol tax”