“Alternative-innovative financing options”

The latest phrase to disguise people wanting to stick their hands in your pocket to get money out of it is “alternative-innovative financing options”.

Finance and Infrastructure Minister, Steven Joyce?s, first major announcement since taking up the portfolio was exactly the tonic Auckland business needed to hear.

Noting the Government announcement saying “no” to a regional fuel tax, Chairman of the Auckland Business Forum, Michael Barnett, agreed the tax had potential to distort the market, administratively difficult, and badly targeted and unfair.

“We are delighted Government has rejected it, as it takes the uncertainty around the proposal ?off the table?.

Noting also that Mr Joyce supported Auckland Council and Government continuing to work together to maintain the momentum to address Auckland?s transport issues, Mr Barnett encouraged a lifting in the pace to identify and agree on a suite of alternative-innovative financing options for delivering Auckland?s major transport projects.

The Auckland Business Forum also supported the Minister?s signal that it is now open to the introduction of electronic road tolling in Auckland.

It gives Auckland a clear agenda and incentive to adopt a new mind-set focused on increasing the pace of action.

Aucklanders will be asked to pay to use roads that they have already paid for a number of times over. ? But perversely, Auckland Council keeps taking roads away and giving them to rail users, cyclists and busses, causing more congestion on the roads they want to toll.

It’s complete madness.

At least the region is off the hook with a petrol levy, and the general taxpayer seems to be off the hook for the moment as well. ? Problem is that Phil will need much more money than tolls will ever provide.