21 May 2007
The forest industry is baulking at the prospect that lumber and logs will be paying a diesel tax to fund Auckland's public transport system.
"Transport costs have already been hiked by the recent steep increase in road user charges. Adding a further tax to fund passenger transport is unacceptable," says Doug Ducker, chairman of Woodco, which represents forest owners and wood processors.
"Forestry is largely an export industry and extra costs like the proposed tax cannot be passed on to overseas customers. It is simply a dead cost which makes forestry and wood processing less profitable.
"There is growing disquiet about the willingness of the government to load costs onto export industries. In the case of forestry, this comes on top of the decision of the government to assume ownership of carbon credits in privately owned forests.
"The notion of lumber and logs sharing seats on Auckland's buses would be amusing, if the issue wasn't so serious.
"If there is to be a tax to fund better services for commuters, those who benefit from those services should pay. Freight cannot be put on passenger transport, so it should not have to pay."