How much more will you pay for food?

June 27, 2018

The fuel tax legislation the government has just passed to allow Auckland Council to compensate for the mayor Phil Goff’s inability to rein in costs will hit us all.

Taxpayers’ Union spokesman Louis Houlbrooke says:

“Aucklanders will get a rude awakening at the pump from Sunday, thanks to a big-taxing government bailing out a big-spending mayor.”
 
“The Government’s rhetoric about funding transport infrastructure is just a distraction from Phil Goff’s failure to deliver the Council savings that he promised. He’s saved around 0.3% in operational spending, when he promised to save three to six percent.”
 
“This fuel tax will hit the poorest hardest, especially those who live in outer suburbs and drive older vehicles.” . . 

It won’t just hit Aucklanders, it will hit us all because it will add to the cost of transport on all goods and every service.

But wait, there’s more bad news that will directly impact on the cost of food:

Confusion reigns after Labour passed its Regional Fuel Tax (RFT) law yesterday, says Horticulture New Zealand chief executive Mike Chapman.

“This tax comes into force in Auckland on Sunday, yet there is no system in place for off-road ‘behind the farm gate’ vehicles and machinery used by the 441 fruit and vegetable growers in Auckland that we represent,” Chapman says. “Growers should not have to pay the RFT for vehicles and machinery that are supposed to be excluded from this tax, yet on Sunday they will have to. We are talking about considerable numbers of vehicles and machinery used to produce healthy food for New Zealanders, both in Auckland and beyond.

“Having paid this tax that doesn’t apply to off-road use, because there is no exemption process, they will then have to go through a complicated and costly process to get a rebate on that tax. This is just not logical. The Government has spent seven figures developing a rebate system without ever talking to future users, or considering that they shouldn’t have to pay the tax in the first place.

“It makes no sense, nor is it fair, that this money will sit in a government bank account earning interest for at least three months, when it has been unreasonably collected before possibly being eligible for rebate. This tax is designed to improve Auckland’s transport system, and therefore must exclude vehicles not used on those roads. Food production also uses a lot of diesel-fuelled machinery that gets captured by this tax unnecessarily.

It’s not just fruit and vegetable growers that will be hit.  All farmers and fishers in the Auckland region will be hit by this and cost increases will spread beyond the region and that will inevitably lead to increases in the price of all food – fruit, vegetables, nuts, grains, fish, poultry, eggs, bacon, ham, pork, beef, lamb and milk.

“This process has been so rushed to meet Auckland Mayor Phil Goff’s announced 1 July deadline, that we feel that we have not been listened to and the full democratic process has been unnecessarily truncated – to the point Labour suggested the committee stage of the Bill did not even need to be debated, in the interests of time.

“This will affect growers’ businesses and costs considerably, to the point of hundreds of thousands of dollars a year. Those costs will be passed on to consumers, making healthy food more expensive at a time when many households are already struggling.

“We are not at all consoled by New Zealand First’s Shane Jones’ comments in the third reading debate of this Bill yesterday:

“That’s why we thoroughly endorse what the Minister said during the second stage when the House considered this bill. He is bringing forward, in short order, a body of work that will enable the inefficiencies and the areas that have to be refined in terms of a broad rebate system. It will deal not only to the challenges of implementing this particular impost, but also the entirety of the country.

So I say to the potato-growers, onion-growers, not only will I look forward to defending your elite soils, destroyed by Nick Smith under the last regime, but there will be an efficient process to ensure that people who feel that too much of the fuel that they’re purchasing with this impost they cannot claim back through a robust rebate system. So the bill does deal with that, and the Minister is going to go on to make further announcements.” – From Hansard.

“This will not happen by Sunday,” Chapman says. “We are very disappointed in this process. We can only hope that the ‘inefficiencies and the areas that have to be refined in terms of a broad rebate system’ will be dealt with using the same speed that was used to force this ill-conceived Bill into law.

“We do not want a rebate system, we want proper exemption. We do not believe growers should have to pay the tax in the first place and lose this money for a full three months before they can claim it back. It is ridiculous double handling, cost, and extra jobs for the public service to have to pay a tax and then claim it back. There is no logic, efficiency, or fairness in that.” 

Fine words don’t feed families and this tax, rushed through parliament will make it harder still for those already struggling to put healthy food on their tables.

The government is crowing about the help it’s giving with its Families Package and winter fuel payment but that will be no compensation for the increased costs of everything because of the fuel tax.

Increased costs will fuel inflation which in turn will put pressure on interest rates which will put more pressure on prices . . .

The fuel tax will fuel a vicious cycle of cost increases which will hit the poor hardest, all because Goff and his council can’t control their spending.


11.5c + 3-4c = more poverty

June 1, 2018

Petrol was $2.22 a litre when I filled up my car yesterday.

That’s expensive and it’s going to get worse:

Aucklanders will be hit with a 11.5c a litre rise as soon the regional fuel tax comes into effect on July 1, with petrol companies saying they will be passing the full increase on.

And there will be more pain when prices rise by as much as 4c a litre again on October 1 if the first round of three national fuel excise increases is implemented following a policy statement announcement at the end of June.

The Government has indicated the increase will be 3-4c every year for three years. . . 

A tax of 11.5 cents now and 3-4 cents in a few weeks will add up to more poverty.

Aucklanders might face the highest price increase but it will affect all of us one way or another because at least some of the price rise will spread throughout the country.

Every trip everyone makes in a petrol-fueled vehicle will cost more and so too will every trip everything everyone buys, and everything that goes into everything everyone buys.

The price rise might encourage some to forgo private transport for public, but public transport doesn’t serve everyone in cities and there are no passenger trains and local buses outside cities and you can’t put goods and services on trains and buses.

The price rises will fuel inflation which will put pressure on interest rates which will put more pressure on prices which will further fuel inflation . . .

And who will be hardest hit by that?

It’s always the poorest.

Auckland needs better roads but had mayor Phil Goff kept to his promise of finding 3-6 percent efficiencies across the Council budget, this tax would not be needed.

For the sake of us all, Aucklanders must come up with a viable alternative who could beat the incumbent at next year’s election to save us from another three years of tax and spend.


Fueling inflation

May 22, 2018

The headline said As fuel prices hit record high, govt mulls tax cut.

That was in India.

Prices are high in New Zealand too but the tax will be going up.

The AA’s weekly fuel price report last week noted:

Another increase in fuel prices, the second in a week, this time led by Z, with all fuels up 4 cents per litre. This brings the ‘national’ price of 91 octane to $2.30/litre, the highest price ever recorded – in nominal terms that is; as we note below, we’ve paid much more in real terms when you adjust for inflation. Plus the tax on petrol has now broken through the $1/litre barrier. And all this before Auckland Council is due to introduce a 10cpl regional fuel tax in July, and the Government a 3-4cpl increase in petrol excise later this year.

Why have prices risen 23cpl in the last 2 months? International refined commodity prices have risen over 16% since the last price cut in February due mostly to geopolitics, while the NZ dollar has fallen nearly 5c against the US$.

Petrol tax is already more than $1 a litre. It will go up three to four cents for all of us later in the year and Aucklanders will face another 10 cent/litre tax from their council.

It’s hard enough accepting more than $1 in fuel tax when it was going on roads. It will be even harder to swallow when it’s going to be spent on public transport in Auckland.

The government has been telling us about how it’s helping the poor.

With fuel prices rising and tax on top of that, they will be giving with one hand and taking with the other.

Everything we buy is transported. If the fuel price rises so will everything else and that will fuel inflation and it’s always the poor who are hardest hit by that.


Let’s (not) tax this

April 10, 2018

The National Party has updated its election tax advertisement as it works to counter the government’s fuel tax grab.

The National Party is highlighting Labour’s double whammy of national and regional fuel tax increases by launching an advertisement to illustrate the costs faced by consumers and a petition to encourage people to voice their opposition, National’s Transport Spokesman Jami-Lee Ross says.

“These taxes will hurt consumers in the pocket. As well as the direct impact on what you pay at the pump, they have an effect on most other products you buy, and that really adds up,” Mr Ross says.

“The Government’s plan is to hit consumers twice, firstly in Auckland but also around the country.

“The net result is motorists paying up to a massive 25 cents a litre in more tax – that’s $15 every time you fill up the car.

“And the regional fuel tax legislation makes it clear that other regions are expected to be paying for regional fuel taxes even though Labour said they wouldn’t be able to.

“People will end up paying more and getting less. This is particularly so in regional New Zealand where the nationwide petrol tax increase is paired with a big decline in state highway investment.

“Regional New Zealanders are being made to shell out for new trams down Auckland’s Dominion Road.

“People are angry on this one. The Government needs to rethink its approach and ease up on the cost increases on Kiwis.

“They claim they are worried about people’s incomes and then they hit them with this.”

The three parties in government claim to be determined to help the poor.

Any increase in fuel tax will hit the poorest hardest and more than counter any gains they might have made through increases to the minimum wage or government payments.

You can sign a petition against the tax here.


Fuel tax increase canned

April 26, 2011

Some good news for tough times:

The planned fuel tax increase of 1.5 cents per litre which was due to come into effect on 1 July has been deferred while economic conditions remain tight, says Transport Minister Steven Joyce.

The increase was part of a package of changes agreed to by the government in March 2009, designed to make the funding of New Zealand’s land transport system simpler and more efficient.  The package included the cancellation of the economically inefficient regional fuel taxes and their replacement with smaller national increases.

Mr Joyce says given the ongoing economic impact of the global recession and the Christchurch earthquakes, it makes sense to hold off on the increase for another year so as not to add further costs to the economy.

This is a temporary reprieve but we can be grateful for small mercies when we get them.


February 25 in history

February 25, 2010

On February 25:

138 The Emperor Hadrian adopted Antoninus Pius, effectively making him his successor.

Bust Hadrian Musei Capitolini MC817.jpg

1570 Pope Pius V excommunicated Queen Elizabeth I.

El Greco 050.jpg

1778 José de San Martín, Argentine general and liberator of South America, was born.

 

 

1793 George Washington held the first Cabint meeting as President of the United States.

 

 

1797 Colonel William Tate and his force of 1000-1500 soldiers surrendered after the Last Invasion of Britain.

 
Carregwastad Head, the landing site for Tate’s forces

1836 Samuel Colt received an American patent for the Colt revolver.

1841  Pierre-Auguste Renoir, French painter, graphic artist and sculptor, was born.

1845 George Reid, fourth Prime Minister of Australia, was born.

1861 Rudolf Steiner, Austrian philosopher and educator, was born.

1870 Hiram Rhodes Revels becamethe first African American to sit in the U.S. Congress.

1873  Enrico Caruso, Italian tenor, was born.

1890 Dame Myra Hess, English pianist, was born.

1890  Vyacheslav Molotov, Soviet politician, was born.

1901 Zeppo Marx, American actor, was born.

1901 J.P. Morgan incorporated the United States Steel Corporation.

USS.svg

1908 Frank G. Slaughter, American novelist, was born.

 

1912 Marie-Adélaïde, the eldest of six daughters of Guillaume IV, becomes the first reigning Grand Duchess of Luxembourg.

1917 Anthony Burgess, English author, was born.

Clockwork orange.jpg

1919 Oregon placed a 1 cent per U.S. gallon tax on gasoline, becoming the first U.S. state to levy a fuel tax.

1921 Tbilisi, capital of the Democratic Republic of Georgia, was occupied by Bolshevist Russia.

1925 Glacier Bay National Monument (now Glacier Bay National Park and Preserve) was established in Alaska.

1928 Charles Jenkins Laboratories of Washington, D.C. became the first holder of a television license.

1932 Adolf Hitler obtained German citizenship by naturalisation, which allowed him to run in the 1932 election for Reichspräsident.

1933 The USS Ranger (CV-4) was launched, the first US Navy ship to be built solely as an aircraft carrier.

USS Ranger CV-4.jpg

1935 Sally Jessy Raphaël, American talk show host, was born.

1941 February Strike: In occupied Amsterdam, a general strike was declared in response to increasing anti-Jewish measures instituted by the Nazis.

 De Dokwerker in Amsterdam remembering the February strike

1943 48 Japanese prinsoners and one guard were killed in the Featherston Prinsoner of War riot.

49 killed in Featherston POW riot
 
1943 George Harrison, English musician (The Beatles), was born.
Black-and-white shot of a mustachioed man in his early thirties  with long, dark hair.

1945 Elkie Brooks, English singer, was born.

1945  Turkey declared war on Germany.

1946 Jean Todt, French executive director of Scuderia Ferrari, was born.

1947 State of Prussia ceased to exist.

 

 

 

1948 The Communist Party took control of government in Czechoslovakia.

 

1950 Néstor Kirchner, President of Argentina, was born.

1951 The first Pan American Games were held in Buenos Aires.

Flag of PASO.svg

1953 José María Aznar, former Prime Minister of Spain, was born.

1954 Gamal Abdul Nasser was made premier of Egypt.

Head and shoulders of a man in his  forties smiling. He has dark hair that is pulled back, a long forehead,  thick eyebrows and a mustache.  He is wearing a gray jacket and a white  shirt with a tie.

1956 In his speech On the Personality Cult and its Consequences Soviet leader Nikita Khrushchev denounced the cult of personality of Joseph Stalin.

An aging, balding man  with glasses reads from papers.

1971 The first unit of the Pickering Nuclear Generating Station, first commercial nuclear power station in Canada, went online.

A unit at  the Pickering plant

1973 Julio Iglesias, Jr., Spanish singer, was born.

1976  Chris Pitman, American keyboardist (Guns N’ Roses), was born.

1980 The Suriname government was overthrown by a military coup initiated with the bombing of the police station from an army ship of the coast of the nation’s capital; Paramaribo.

1985 Benji Marshall, New Zealand rugby player, was born.

Benji Marshall (26 April 2009).jpg

1986 People Power Revolution: President Ferdinand Marcos of the Philippines fled after 20 years of rule; Corazon Aquino became the first Filipino woman president.

President Aquino, 2003

1991 Gulf War: An Iraqi Scud missile hit an American military barracks in Dhahran, Saudi Arabia killing 28 U.S. Army Reservists from Pennsylvania.

1992 Khojaly massacre: about 613 civilians were killed by Armenian armed forces during the conflict in Nagorno-Karabakh region of Azerbaijan.

Memorial to the victims of Khojaly Massacre

1994 Mosque of Abraham massacre: In the Cave of the Patriarchs in Hebron Dr. Baruch Kappel Goldstein opened fire with an automatic rifle, killing 29 Palestinian worshippers and injuring 125 more before being subdued and beaten to death by survivors. Subsequent rioting kills 26 more Palestinians and 9 Israelis.

2009  BDR massacre in Pilkhana, Dhaka, Bangladesh. 74 People were killed, including more than 50 Army officials, by Bangladeshi Border Guards.

 

Sourced from NZ History Online & Wikipedia


Fuel Tax Better Than Road User Charges?

July 3, 2008

Petrol is more expensive than diesel because the former has a fuel tax levied on it and the latter doesn’t. But diesel powered vehicles pay Road User Charges instead.

The chair of the Road Transport Forum, Steve Doughty told Mary Wilson on Checkpoint last night that he’d be keen on an investigation to determine if fuel tax might be better than RUCs.

My initial reaction to this is positive. RUCs are based on distance, the further you go the more you pay. That sounds fair enough until you work out that vehicles which travel further efficiently pay more than those which travel a shorter distance inefficiently.

Fuel taxes, are consumption taxes so the more you use the more you pay and there is a financial incentive to use it efficiently.

Doughty reckons that the administration on RUCs costs around $100 million a year. That sounds high but there must be a lot of paper work involved with all the vehicles each with individual RUCs which need to be purchased and processed.  It would be simpler and cheaper to pay fuel tax at the pump as we do for petrol.

Changing from RUCs to fuel tax might be more expensive for people with diesel powered cars who drive short distances. But it would definitely be easier and, by reducing the adminsitration,  possibly cheaper for every vehicle covering long distances.

It would also relieve traffic police of the task of checking RUCs are up to date and writing tickets if they’re not 🙂


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