The Labour Party says the Government's deferral of a promised rise in fuel tax is a pre-election political stunt.
The increase, of 1.5c a litre, was due to come into effect in July, but Transport Minister Steven Joyce says that , given the ongoing economic impact of the global recession and the Christchurch earthquakes, it makes sense to hold off for another year.
The deferral will cost the Government $72 million in the next financial year.
Mr Joyce has, however, signalled that an increase of 2c is likely in 2012, with a further rise of 1.5c the following year.
Labour's transport spokesperson, Shane Jones, says that the deferral can only be seen as a political stunt.
"It's akin to cosmetic surgery," he says. "It's a bit of a nip and tuck for the Government to tart themselves up prior to the election. The reality is that once the election's over they're going to bang on additional costs anyway."
Mr Jones says Mr Joyce needs to get his priorities right.