24 Mar 2009

Govt stands by decision to scrap Auckland fuel tax

9:42 pm on 24 March 2009

Transport Minister Steven Joyce is standing by the decision to scrap Auckland's regional fuel tax.

Opposition parties criticised the Government during an urgent debate in Parliament over the move on Tuesday, saying it has turned Auckland on its head.

It is the first time that MPs have had a chance to question Mr Joyce on the matter since the announcement was made a week ago.

The fuel tax had been earmarked for Auckland's rail electrification and a series of associated projects, including integrated ticketing and station upgrades.

Mr Joyce told MPs on Tuesday that most New Zealanders travel to work by car, bike, motorcycle or truck. Increasing the national fuel tax by 3 cents a litre instead will mean a number of roading projects in the country can now go ahead.

He says the Government is making the largest investment in roading infrastructure that has even been undertaken.

He says it will help national productivity, reduce congestion and help New Zealand's economic growth as it comes out of the recession.