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Pump relief ‘short-lived’

Extended fuel tax cuts will ultimately have a negative impact on Wairarapa’s roading infrastructure, according to a regional transport spokesperson.

Prime Minister Chris Hipkins announced on Wednesday that the temporary fuel excise tax discount of 25 cents per litre, as well as half-price public transport, will be extended until the end of June.

This is the fourth time the discounts, which were first introduced in March last year, have been pushed out.

Automobile Association Wairarapa chair Craig Bowyer said the extension is good in terms of providing some short-term cost-of-living relief, but will eventually become unsustainable.

“Fuel excise tax gets collected into the Land Transport Fund, then goes straight out to infrastructure projects like the Kapiti Expressway, bypass extensions, and general road maintenance,” he pointed out.

“Our roads are not looking good. If there’s less money, there’s less maintenance. It’ll be the same for public transport too.

“This is the Government trying to massage the inflation figures. They’re just trying to win the popularity contest.”

The extension of the fuel tax relief was announced just as Wairarapa prices began to increase, after a drop at the end of 2022.

On Friday, for 91 octane fuel, the cheapest station in Wairarapa was Gull Chapel St at $2.37 per litre, followed by Pak’n’Save Masterton at 2.45 per litre, according to the smartphone app Gaspy.

In December, the cheapest stations were Pak’n’Save at $2.27 per litre, and Mobil and Waitomo at $2.37 per litre.

In October, the lowest fuel price in Wairarapa was
Allied Tom Wilson in Martinborough at $2.56 per litre. In Masterton, the cheapest at the time was $2.59 per litre at Pak’n’Save.

The AA is predicting the prices will go up again before the 25-cent discount gets dropped, Bowyer said.

“It will put a lot of strain on families when it becomes unaffordable. The budget only goes so far.”

He said the region needs better public transport but doesn’t expect it to improve anytime soon.

“Relying on public transport is pretty hard in Wairarapa – it’s not like a family can decide to go to Riversdale for the weekend and take the bus.

“Even with the rail upgrades, we still have the same crappy trains.”

Helen Holt
Helen Holt
Helen Holt is a reporter at the Wairarapa Times-Age and enjoys reporting on a variety of topics, regularly covering Wairarapa events, tourism, local businesses, and the occasional health story.

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