“Labour’s scapegoating of petrol companies amounts to nothing more than election year populism”, according to ACT Leader David Seymour.

“The cost of living is a serious problem, but more red tape and regulation won’t make a difference to the price of petrol and could actually make the situation worse.

“Labour fails to understand the real issue which is that New Zealand’s economy lacks the scale to support more competitors.

“Scapegoating fuel companies in election year is brilliant politics, but the economics are abysmal.

“Commerce Minister Kris Faafoi said the Government could bring down petrol prices by 32 cents a litre. But the average importer margin is only 25 cents.

“Does he believe petrol companies will work for free? This is the level of economic illiteracy in the Labour Party.

“Even if the Government’s regulation of the fuel market cuts the importer margin by a quarter – or about 6 cents – it will not make a huge difference to petrol prices. Between September and December 2018, the cost of 95 fluctuated by 37 cents. Taking a quarter of retailers’ revenue would bankrupt them but would only save consumers 6 cents in the dollar.

“New Zealand already has great difficulty with bureaucracy. Too much red tape and regulation prevents us from raising productivity and wages. New regulation will make it harder to do business but won’t make a significant difference to petrol prices.

“ACT will once again stand alone in Parliament for good economics over populist public policy.”