Hamilton City Council is seeking to implement a regional fuel tax.

The Hamilton City Council and Waikato Regional Council are aiming for the new tax to be introduced by 2020 in order to fund roading and public transport projects.

There is no need for such a tax in the Waikato.

The proposal follows the current Government's decrease in infrastructure investment to the region which has resulted in a lack of resource for important transport projects.

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The councils are seeking to correct this through a new tax on our people.

What they should be doing is advocating for our fair share of current taxes.

Waikato represents 9 per cent of all New Zealanders and deserves to get its fair share of capital funding from the New Zealand Transport Association (NZTA).

Hamilton City Council should be advocating for this, the region already pays its share of fuel tax.

Over the last decade we had seen the Waikato receive its share, which was invested in the Waikato Expressway.

With the proposed regional fuel tax, we would be paying twice for something we are not going to receive under this Government, as they have cancelled major projects from 2020 onwards.
We don't need our councils to ask for new tax, we need them to advocate that we get our fair share of the current tax we already pay.

In terms of new transport initiatives, the current Government has tried to introduce the Hamilton-to-Auckland train service, which has proved ultimately problematic, with the capacity to carry only 150 people at a time.

This has not been a beneficial investment to the region, and instead drained time and resource which could have been redirected to more meaningful projects.

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The Government is also pushing for lower speed limits on our rural roads. Imposing lower speed limits will affect the local economy, increase travel times and add frustration to Waikato motorists.

This proposal is based on the Swedish transport model, without taking into account the significant differences between Sweden and New Zealand — Sweden is not a rural based economy, and most people are not required to drive long distances.

The Waikato needs a bold infrastructure plan to improve safety on our roads and a regressive speed limit cut will not address incidents due to poor road design.

The current Government won't invest in public safety by improving our region's roads and instead would impose taxes and speed restrictions, affecting the efficiency of our local transport industries, primary production and general productivity.

The Waikato should instead be seeking funding for an extension of the Waikato Expressway, from Cambridge to Piarere, which would be a more effective public safety and transport initiative.

We need councils to be arguing for our fair share and not trying to impose new taxes.