More pain at the pump | The Jackal

5 Jul 2013

More pain at the pump

At the beginning of 2008 when petrol prices were $1.68 per litre, John Key asked the question:

Why are grocery and petrol prices going through the roof?

At the time, the Labour party's Commerce Minister Lianne Dalziel released an independent report into petrol pricing in New Zealand (PDF). Its main findings were:

• The New Zealand petrol market is fundamentally competitive.
• Retail petrol prices are not fast to rise and slow to fall.
• Recent price rises are mainly due to increases in crude oil prices overseas.
• A Fuelwatch scheme like Australia’s wouldn’t benefit consumers, because our market works differently.
• More transparency about the makeup of importer margins and a move to report daily margin movements would be useful for consumers.

However you've got to wonder about Hale & Twomey's independence...being that they're closely associated with the oil industry. By all appearances petrol prices are faster to rise and slower to fall, with the energy sector soaking up huge profits in the interim.

Such a flawed system means 95 Octane now costs $2.30 per litre, depending on where you fill up. That's a 37% increase since Key made his 2008 state of the Nation speech, in which he promised 'A Fresh Start for New Zealand'.

Unfortunately nothing has changed, with National increasing GST and other taxes to cause Kiwis considerably more pain at the pump. In fact around half the increase in petrol prices since 2008 is a result of the government increasing taxes and not due to increases in crude oil prices overseas.

Today, the NZ Herald reported:

An industry-led rise and a tax increase have pushed petrol prices to equal a record high reached last year.

Increases imposed by the four main oil companies of 4c a litre for both petrol and diesel - within three days of fuel taxes rising on Monday - have been slammed by the Automobile Association as unjustified.

"It's a bad look for the fuel companies to be raising prices so quickly after the tax rises," spokesman Mark Stockdale said yesterday.

The double-whammy has hit motorists with a 7c increase in petrol prices since Monday, when the Government raised its excise tax by 3c a litre to pay for roading projects, notably its seven Roads of National Significance such as the Waikato Expressway and Puhoi-to-Wellsford motorway extension.

So, the government has borrowed New Zealand into $82 billion worth of debt, is selling our most profitable assets and has markedly increased taxes and road user charges to pay for their roads of little significance...the irony being that with large increases in the cost of living since National gained power, most Kiwis won't be able to afford to use them.