As petrol at NZ pumps head towards two dollars per litre, commerce minister Lianne Dalziel says his morning there's nothing her government can do to lower prices.
Au contraire, Lianne. Since the government is taking a fairly savage proportion* of the cost of every litre in tax (which is far more than the profits the oil companies make on every litre of their own oil every litre, and with GST on top) I'd say there's something very tangible the government can do, don't you?
And this is not to mention the extra twenty-five cents per litre (plus GST) that the government is about to levy to pay for feelgood anti-global warming measures, and for its latest bout of constructing public transport infrastructure that few people want to use.
So frankly, Lianne, there's something very simple your government could do to lower petrol prices: Stop stealing.
* Last I checked this was something of the order of forty-seven percent, and that was before the extra five cents per litre 'green' tax added on April Fool's Day this year. Perhaps someone with a calculator and access to an accurate account of the theft could let me know this morning what it amounts to now?
UPDATE: Thanks to commenters JC and 'Spam,' who've come up with these figures:
Going back to early 2007, taxes were $0.50 excl GST.
GST is charged on the total price of fuel, and with a total price at around $2 / litre, the GST component is about $0.22. Now, with the importer margin being only around $0.18 the government is making more money out of GST ONLY than the oil companies are making on a per-litre basis!
[On top of that there's] the ACC levy of 7 cents, soon to be 9 cents on each litre.
So you have a 50 cent levy, a 9 cent ACC levy plus 22 cents GST... in round figures [that's about] 80 cents per litre to the government.
To put that in perspective, the government's take is about what we used to pay for petrol around 1997/98.