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Published: 2003-09-23 00:00:00

A change from paying petrol tax to paying for distance travelled has been welcomed by Environment Waikato Regional Land Transport Committee Chairman David Peart.

Mr Peart said recent comments from Transport Minister Paul Swain suggesting that in the long run motorists would pay distance taxes, similar to road user charges, indicated the way paying for transport costs was moving.

The new payment method is one of a number of transport schemes being examined. Police and transport officials are looking at equipping every vehicle with a microchip to record a vehicle’s use.

Mr Peart said the scheme was consistent with the Waikato Regional Land Transport Strategy policy, which advocates for a move to ‘output based’ funding for land transport. The current system - where motorists pay for land transport through petrol levies and motor vehicle registration fees - was quickly becoming obsolete, he said.

“Modern motor vehicles are highly fuel efficient and the amount of petrol tax collected by the Government is decreasing every year. A new system based on distance travelled would be a fairer way of allocating costs to motorists and enable the Government to collect sufficient funds to carry out essential transport projects around the country.”