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NZ Fuel Prices: Ardern talks about petrol companies fleecing consumers, then Genter chimed in

22/08/2019

Predictably the media has been full of coverage of the Commerce Commission’s preliminary report into petrol pricing – much has been made of petrol company margins. Copy of the report my be found here along with supporting documents.

Equally the reports have been anti the evil petrol companies. Yet let us not forget that the government is a key player both from the reliance on fuel taxes, to the extent that some $1 of the pump price is attributable to taxes. In addition it seems clear that many of the problems have their origins in the way the market was deregulated in 1988.

Neither of the major political parties have performed well on this issue choosing to attack the petrol companies, rather than the underlying issues.

Based on past performance any final government action may well be excessive and wrong. Already we have Jacinda Ardern claiming

In a NZ Herald piece by Claire Trevett

Commission chair Anna Rawlings was asked if consumers were being fleeced but said that was not a word the commission would use.

It was, however, a word politicians would use. They used it with gleeful abandon.

Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern used the word four times in her first media appearance on the matter.

Then she delivered something of a dramatic Churchillian “we will fight them on the beaches” statement:

“I can tell New Zealanders that we cannot stand by while they are facing the pressure at the pump and while they are being fleeced. We, as a Government, stand ready to act.”

She went on to repeat the “ready to act” line six more times.

Any move to cut petrol prices will be a popular one, but most New Zealanders are aware they are being fleeced on two flanks.

The second flank is in Government taxes.

My existing concerns over any Ardern regime response were exacerbated by Ardern’s remarks

Note also this ludicrous tweet from anti-car zealot, Green MP and Associate Transport Minister Julie Anne Genter:

There is no evidence to support the argument from Genter that if taxes were not raised then profits would be higher. In addition it is questionable as to whether her definition of infrastructure would be the same as that of many of those people paying the taxes.

More on this issue in due course.

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