“Two days ago ACT reminded the Government that ‘there’s nothing more permanent than a temporary Government program,’ and Labour has kicked the petrol price discount down the road,” says ACT Leader David Seymour.

“ACT first called the cost of living crisis in December. The Government finally admitted it in March, and the petrol and public transport discounts were rushed together when the Government finally admitted there was a crisis, now they’ve been extended for a second time.

“Just as Labour had not considered that discounted kilometres bought under the Road User Charge Scheme do not have to be used in the period they’re bought, it also had not considered the chaos what would ensue when people queue up to avoid the 25c rise in petrol prices.

“Labour’s policy also creates havoc with public transport providers. Auckland Transport, for example, had promoters in malls selling discounts designed to smooth the eventual return to full price fares. That marketing effort is now worthless, and it will have to plan for the return to full price fares on January 31, unless the Government kicks the can down the road again then.

“What it should have done is introduced a durable solution, returning the proceeds of the Emissions Trading Scheme to citizens. Announced in March by ACT, it is a simple and practical policy that would give the average family a $749 dividend without reducing a cent from any public service.

“ACT’s policy has the advantage of being sustainable, while maintaining the incentive to emit less carbon. A family that used its carbon tax refund for greener solutions would effectively be subsidised by those who buy petrol. Labour’s policy has effectively cancelled out the effect of ETS charges (approximately 18c) on a litre of petrol, and then some.

“A serious approach to the cost of living crisis can be found in ACT’s Alternative Budget. The carbon tax rebate is part of this but there is much more. As the only party to publish a fully costed alternative, ACT calls on the Government to reduce wasteful spending so that it can cut income tax and return to surplus.”