Hosking: Fuel tax should benefit motorists, not road maggots

Mike Hosking, at the NZ Herald, writes:

Here’s your problem, as has been quite rightly pointed out. Firstly, fuel tax is a new tax – and the Government trying to argue it isn’t is a lie.

Have other governments adjusted the excise? Yes. But that doesn’t make it a reason to do it yourself – especially when you explicitly bent over backwards during the election campaign arguing that there would be no new taxes.

You had a tax working group, and whatever they came up with and got adopted would be taken to the poll of 2020, so we could all vote on it.

That was fair and clear, and made political sense. It’s like arguing income tax is already in place, and because you’re taking the top rate to 39, that’s just an adjustment not a new tax. No one would believe it or accept it. End of quote

The fuel tax is, at the very least, breaking the spirit of a promise. When Labour promised that there wouldn’t be any new taxes voters took it as saying that voters wouldn’t be paying more under Labour.Mike Hosking continues:

Secondly, and here’s the really important bit when it comes to credibility, this fuel tax is paying for buses and trains and trams. Now, the fact this Government is pro-public transport is not a surprise to anyone, and they’re allowed to be.End of quote.

And this is important thing. I can handle a fuel tax if it’s for the benefit of drivers. In fact, like anyone, I can pretty much handle any targeted tax if it’s for the benefit of those who pay it. But this is throwing-the-tea-over-the-harbour stuff or, in this case, the almond milk. The fuel tax may as well be going over to England to help the Poms with their transport problems.

No tax without representation.Mike Hosking continues:

[…]If you want to promote public transport, get the users of public transport to pay for it. Get the cyclists to pay for the bike lanes, the bus riders to pay for the bus lanes, and the train riders to pay for the tracks.End of quote.

Exactly, and, while we’re on the topic, let’s get rid of this idea of sharing the road. Roads were built for cars. Motorists don’t have to share jack. If a cyclist is on the road it is because motorists allow him to be. That means he keeps to the left as much as possible, doesn’t parallel cycle with his mates blocking the road, and if there’s a cycle lane he uses it.?Mike concludes:

And that is the great fraud of all this. It isn’t the answer, and they probably deep down know it. They hate cars and they hate people in cars. So the punishment is those in cars get penalised.

This is ideology at its worst, and when it’s dressed up this way, it’s not sold well. And when it’s not sold well, you don’t get takers, buyers and supporters – you get resentment and anger based on the sense you’ve been hoodwinked.

And that’s where we are this morning: hoodwinked by ideologues. Rightly or wrongly we love cars, and we love roads, and we pay tax for roads and bridges. That’s what a fuel tax is.

[…]A tagged tax has to be a tagged tax, otherwise it’s a rort.End of quote.