The Green Party says direct payments to New Zealanders would have provided better support than a temporary cut in fuel tax.
“Providing direct payments to people through the welfare system or via a tax credit would have given people the support they need to pay the bills, whether it’s putting petrol in the car or feeding their whānau,” says James Shaw, Co-leader of the Green Party.
“Everyone should have what they need to make ends meet. But right now, far too many are shouldering the burden of rising prices for the basics, especially those on the lowest incomes.
“Urgent action is clearly needed to address the worsening inequality crisis in Aotearoa New Zealand.
“We are delighted at the move to halve public transport fares for the next three months. This will give hundreds of thousands of New Zealanders cheaper options to get around.
“We also recognise that cutting fuel tax will be a welcome relief to a lot of people. While some Government systems are so cumbersome they can’t move quickly enough to deal with what is a very pressing need, boosting people’s incomes would have had the same impact while also helping to meet the costs of other essentials, like food.
“New Zealand has some of the lowest petrol taxes in the OECD, but some of the highest prices of fuel excluding tax. In other words, fuel tax isn’t necessarily the problem. And there’s no guarantee the petrol companies won’t simply absorb the tax reduction into their profit margins.
“Over the long-term, the most effective way we can ease the pressure people face at the pump is to move away from our heavy fossil fuel dependence.
“We will keep working to build a future where vehicles are powered by electricity; towns and cities connected by affordable public transport; and there are safe options to walk and cycle,” says James Shaw.