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Nelson MP Nick Smith is disappointed that Labour, Green, and NZ Frist MPs voted against Nelson and Tasman being excluded from the 11.5c /litre regional fuel tax in Parliament this week.

“I have three major concerns about the impact of the Government’s new regional fuel tax on our Nelson and Tasman communities.”

“Firstly, officials have warned that the 11.5c /litre Auckland regional fuel tax coming into effect on 1st July will likely be spread over all of New Zealand by fuel companies.  They warn that areas like the South Island, where the competition is least, will likely pay the most.  It is grossly unfair that Nelson and Tasman households will be hit by an average $5 extra each time they fuel up their vehicle.”

“My second concern is that the increased fuel tax is being imposed at the same time the Government is dramatically reducing investment in State Highway upgrades.  $5 billion is being taken out of the State Highway budget over the next ten years that would fund projects like Nelson’s Southern Link, and being transferred to tramway projects in Auckland.  The bottom line is that Nelson is being asked to pay more but get less.”

“My third concern is that the new regional petrol tax on 1st July comes on top of the Government’s 12c rise in the Budget of the general petrol tax that stands to bite on 1st September.  These rises in petrol taxes don’t just hit families at the pump, but flow through to the cost of basics like fruit and vegetables.”

“This week I moved an amendment to exempt Nelson and Tasman from any additional regional petrol tax.  I was appalled that West Coast/Tasman MP, Damien O’Connor voted against this.  Our region already pays $100 million a year in fuel taxes and we do not get anything like $100 million of reinvestment in our roads.  This new law, expected to be passed by Parliament next week, would enable an additional 11.5c /litre or $15 million a year to be taken from our regions.”

“The Coalition Government is using Nelson and Tasman motorists as a cash cow to pay for pet projects in Auckland.  I will continue my fight to get a better deal for Nelson and Tasman, and to get the fuel taxes taken from our regions spent on our roads.”

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