The draft Commerce Commission report into fuel pricing confirms that New Zealanders are getting fleeced at the pump and that the fuel market is broken, says Tauranga Labour list MP Jan Tinetti.
“After receiving final advice from the Commerce Commission, we will take action that makes a real difference.”
The Commerce Commission has found fuel companies could be getting higher than reasonable returns, in part because of a lack of competition, and motorists may be paying too much.
The commission says a shared distribution network and restrictive wholesale supply agreements prevented rivals from entering the market and limited incentives for the three major players to compete with each other on price.
The supply chain is dominated by Z Energy, BP, and Mobil. They import, process, store and distribute 90 percent of the country's fuel.
“If we reduced taxes on petrol in all likelihood fuel corporations would simply absorb it into their profit margins instead of passing on the savings to consumers,” says Jan.
She is responding to comments from the Road Transport Forum.
Chief executive Nick Leggett says if the Government really wants to “make a difference at the pump”, they may want to consider their high tax take on fuel and their role in creating a competitive wholesale market before they criticise fuel companies.
“Wednesday’s preliminary report from the Commerce Commission into the retail fuel sector clearly shows the high tax take, particularly when you add the regional fuel tax that Aucklanders pay.”
“The Government’s reaction shows us once again, how anti-business they are. Shock, horror, large multi-national companies have seen a weakness in New Zealand and to counter the cost of them doing business in a small market, they have gamed that.
“This Government continues to show it does not understand basic economics.”
Jan says the draft report also found that while petrol taxes grew modestly since 2008, petrol importer margins sky rocketed by 187 per cent over the same period.
“Our fuel taxes are low by OECD standards, but against those same OECD standards our pre-tax petrol prices are very high.
“Both Labour and National governments use excise for transport investment. Every dollar raised goes towards transport projects. The previous government raised petrol excise six times and increased it by 17 cents and the margins fuel corporations made more than doubled.”
Jan says this Government is more interested in defending a fair deal at the pump for hard working New Zealanders than defend the Big Four Fuel companies and improving our roading and transport infrastructure, like our regional roads and safety improvements.