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The proposed Government Policy Statement on Land Transport means Nelson and Tasman people will pay more in fuel taxes while getting less roading investment in the region, says Nelson MP Dr Nick Smith.

“The Government’s new transport policy is highway robbery for Nelson and Tasman as we pay more and get less. Our fuel cost is to be put up by 10 cents a litre in extra tax while the Government cuts $5 billion from state highway investments. The budget for state highways is to be reduced from $1375 million per year to $425 million per year meaning any improvements on State Highway 6 or 60 have negligible chance of success while over $1 billion a year is put into pet tramway projects in Auckland and Wellington.

“The practical impact of the policy is that it will cost $5 extra to fuel the average Nelson vehicle with the total tax on fuel going from 70 cents to 80 cents per litre. This increases the amount the Government takes from road users in our region from $100 million per year to $110 million per year. My gripe is that Government has no intention of reinvesting even a fraction of that $110 million back into Nelson and Tasman.

“Nelson and Tasman are particularly vulnerable under this new transport policy because our population, exports and visitor numbers are growing strongly, and unless we invest in upgrading our highways, the problems of congestion and accidents will just get worse. Nor will we see a dollar of the billions going into railways and big city tramways.

“National has a proud record of highway investments in the Nelson and Tasman region having funded hundreds of millions in projects like the Ruby Bay bypass, Hope Saddle, Spooners Range and Stoke bypass and we committed in 2017 to up to $135 million for the Southern Link. Nelsonians have every right to be angry that the new Government is socking them with extra taxes and at the same time ignoring our increasing transport problems.”

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