It appears the AA was merely pointing out that they felt the ARC was not consulting the public on it’s plans to introduce a regional fuel tax (as if we weren’t already paying enough tax on petrol) to finance it’s flash new electric railway set.
Mr Lee has learnt a bit from Winston Peters and has affected a somewhat contrived sense of outrage as it appears the timing of the AA’s questions don’t suit the ARC’s master plan for the ‘grateful’ citizens of Auckland.
I have to say my experience of City Councils is that they aren’t too good on consulting, especially when they know that a reasonable size of the population isn’t going to support some project. The ARC is especially good at not consulting, because they fly under the radar as a regional council and they only make up a little part of your rates bill, most people would be blissfully unaware of what they get up too.
A more cynical person might say that this was exactly why regional councils were given the power to levy a fuel tax. City councils would have known this was a poisoned chalice, and were quite happy for the more obscure regional councils to take the hit.
I’ve said before that events like the Rugby World Cup will be used as a pretext to drop consultation because of “time constraints”, and so it appears this is the argument the ARC is using for not bothering with the opinions of citizens that fund its activities.
My opinion is that the Government is already taking about 50% of the cost of fuel in taxes and if they feel that it is important to put public transport in place and the ARC are the ones to do it, then they can give them some of the cash they already collect in tax. Fuel taxes are multilayered – there’s GST on tax, and now we’re getting another tax on a tax on a tax!
I suspect that if there were some real consultation on this issue and the tax debated openly that most Aucklander’s would tell the ARC and Government to shove their regional fuel tax and start financing the public transport out of the masses of tax they already pay on fuel.
Mr Lee also knows that now’s a good time to slip the tax through because elections have been held and people will have already got used to the idea by the time the next election is due.
Auckland long suffering citizens need to be aware that it won’t just be 1% either, that’s the thin end of the wedge, expect it to go up as the projects costs spiral and the legions of consultants and engineers get hold of it. 4-5% is not out of the question.
We don’t need to be paying tax on taxes, the money is there it just needs to be directed to the right projects instead be the central government frittering it away on social project unrelated to the mess occurring on the roads in Auckland.
What is it with Socialists and shiny new train sets at the moment, did Cullen and Lee both have sets when they were kids and now they are living out childhood fantasy’s with out cash?