An online petition to extend the fuel tax cut is under way, with 300 signatures as of now.
The petition, called 'Extend tax-cut on fuel until the end of 2022’ and started by Matthew Small, who works with the Hamilton-based Supported Living Facilitator- Disability & Mental Health Support, seeks to extend the petrol excise tax cut beyond its August –end deadline.
Small says that low to middle-income families will struggle the most if the government puts the 25-cent tax cut back on in August.
“Working as a Supported Living Facilitator, most of the people I support are on the lowest incomes. I see the effects of the cost-of-living crisis daily at work, and the tax increase will hurt them the most. I urge the government to extend the tax cut until the end of the year,” Small said.
Currently, the average per litre price for 91 octane at New Zealand stations stands at $3.09 (according to prices listed on the price-tracking app, Gaspy, on Tuesday 05 July).
The government's current 25c per litre excise tax cut (announced in March for three months) has provided some relief for New Zealanders reeling under the cost of living crisis marked by skyrocketing fuel, grocery and housing prices.
In its May budget, the government announced the duration of the three-month fuel tax cut would be extended by two months, meaning, the petrol excise duty discount will be dropped in August.
Josh Garwitch, a signatory, wrote: “Petrol is expensive enough. We don't need to pay even more tax for our petrol. We need petrol to get to our jobs to pay our other taxes.”
Heyden, another signatory, echoes this sentiment. "Fuel prices are through the roof. Everything is getting tight, and for families living day to day, week to week, it's a cost that's out of control. Fuel prices need to come down and fast.”
The transport industry also weighed in on the issue.
"On behalf of the transport industry, we wrote to the Minister of Transport last week and requested that both the fuel excise and road user charge discounts be extended indefinitely. We also requested that public transport discounts be continued,” said Nick Leggett, Transporting New Zealand chief executive.
Leggett added the present situation was bad for businesses and families and the government needed to keep the discounts in place.
However, a spokesman for Energy and Resources Minister Megan Woods said: “There is a watching brief on fuel prices, but no decisions have been made.”
For the uninitiated, a watching brief is an act of watching the actions of a person or organisation to make sure nothing illegal or wrong is being done.