A majority of Auckland motorists aren't happy about the idea of a regional fuel tax, according to results from a new survey of more than 2000 AA members.
The survey quizzed 2345 Auckland-based AA members about a regional fuel tax, along with other transport issues in the Council's 2018 Long Term Plan - which closes to public feedback today.
Results revealed 35 per cent supported the implementation of a regional fuel tax of 11.5 cents a litre, while 38 per cent were opposed to the idea.
Seven per cent of respondents said they didn't know whether they supported the idea.
And 20 per cent of respondents had a "neutral" response. Spokesman Barney Irvine said commentary around these responses reflected "widely contrasting" views.
"A lot of these people support the tax on the basis of 'user pays', but worry about the social impact, or think it's unfair on people who have no choice but to drive," he said.
Other respondents were more concerned with the ability of decision-makers to spend the extra money on projects they believed would benefit the city.
"I can see the logic for it but I would have no faith that the council would spend the money wisely …" one respondent wrote.
Auckland Mayor Phil Goff said Aucklanders wanted a fix to increasing congestion and gridlock, but the concept of footing the bill was a hard pill to swallow.
"I think if you ask any group 'do you want to pay more for a service' the default answer is almost always no'," he said.
"But if you ask the question 'do you want to keep the status quo and put up with increasing traffic congestion leading to gridlock', the answer will be overwhelmingly 'no'."
Goff said we couldn't expect people in other parts of New Zealand to pay to solve our problem.
Aucklanders already spend the equivalent of four working weeks, or 160 hours, stuck in traffic a year. Last month, a council report said severe congestion is expected to increase by 30 per cent at peak hours, and 50 per cent between the morning and evening peaks.
For every dollar raised by the fuel tax, Goff said, Aucklanders get another dollar in subsidy from the National Land Transport Fund to do more.
Irvine said the results showed the need for Council to clarify where revenue from the tax would be spent.
"Congestion is the number-one transport concern for Auckland AA Members and, more than anything, they need to see that the extra cost is going to help keep travel times down."
"We've heard about the big, new projects, but still haven't seen anything about what they're going to do for congestion across the network."
The survey also touched on the concept of targeted rates as a possible new funding source. More than half of respondents, 61 per cent, opposed the idea while 11 per cent supported it.
However if a fuel tax was implemented Mayor Phil Goff said this would not be relevant. The interim transport levy introduced in 2015 for three years would expire in June and would not be renewed.
"You and I are currently paying an interim transport levy," Goff said.
"While you're paying the regional fuel tax, a levy on the fuel you buy, you'll be relieved of the $114-a-year interim transport levy."
More than 10,000 public submissions had been received on Council's 10-year Budget and Auckland Plan by last week.
Of the 7,050 of these that had been processed and summarised by last Thursday, 50 per cent of respondents were in support of a fuel tax.
Next to this, 42 per cent were unsupportive and 8 per cent were put in an "other" category.
A spokesperson from Auckland Council said answers categorised as "other" either suggested alternatives to the proposal, were neutral or were unsure.
After public submisions on the plan closed, feedback would be analysed and briefing reports prepared for elected members to consider.
"Following deliberations, elected members will make decisions about the final 10-year Budget and The Auckland Plan in May 2018," the spokesman said.