Yesterday the Council made a fairly momentous decision to proceed with the Regional Fuel Tax, after a long and pretty good debate on the issue. Here’s what RNZ reported on the decision:
Councillors voted 13 to 7 in favour of the tax.
Today’s debate on the proposed tax began with Mayor Phil Goff saying the consequences would be “inconceivable” if it was not introduced.
He said the government would likely walk away from an agreed programme of transport works, if the tax was rejected.
Councillor Penny Hulse said the tax had been debated for decades and the lack of action on transport had harmed communities.
After the debate, Mr Goff told RNZ it was a “great news” for the future of Auckland.
“We’ve grasped the nettle, we know that we need to invest more, we know that for every dollar we invest, we’re getting more than a dollar back in terms of government payments. This is another $4.3 billion into Auckland transport over the next decade and that’s critically impertinent.”
The seven votes against were Greg Sayers, Efeso Collins, Sharon Stewart, John Walker, Daniel Newman, Desley Simpson and Mike Lee. Mike Lee’s vote against the fuel tax is a bit surprising, given most of the part of Auckland he represents supported the tax the strongest:
Ever since Auckland’s local government was amalgamated in 2010 (and probably for a long time before then) the issue of transport funding has been a huge problem that has made it difficult for rapid progress to be made. While there are still elements of the transport budget that need more money (particularly cycling), the big decision made yesterday means that massive progress is now possible. Auckland Transport now need to get on with making it happen.