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8/10/2018 — Oil and Gas
Rising petrol the Government’s key thorn
By Ross Louthean

A leading New Zealand columnist says that rising petrol prices pose a bigger threat to this Government than any of the management controversies they've been grappling with in the past few months.

Editor at large for the New Zealand Herald, Liam Dann said that while he’s been fascinated by the bungling of the appointment of a chief technology officer (CTO), it's hard to see this issue landing hard on the radar of the average worker.

“You could make the case that the CTO role is important for future proofing the national economy, you could even argue it goes to larger concerns about the Government's competence — but it isn't hitting anyone in the pocket,” he said.

“Meanwhile, petrol prices are really starting to bite.”

This weekend column comes at a time when there is a plethora of stories doing the rounds, including claims on one website of motorists boycotting expensive petrol stations (what was the alternative), another claimed the problem was petrol companies gouging the public (no, there were councils claiming a slice of the cake at the behest of Government, and besides – like Australia today – government is the big winner on petrol price hikes).

Editor’s comment: Part of the environmental members of the Government and all energy companies, the push for electric vehicles (EVs) is seen to be aided by the Ardern Government pushing out fossil fuel to help propel EVs. The problem is that economists are already seeing hiking fuel prices as a major inflationary factor.

Dann said that while most of the forces driving this (the petrol price) are outside the Government's control, the unfortunate timing of fuel-tax hikes this year is going have people pointing in their direction.

“Regardless, the extra petrol costs put pressure on businesses and consumers to cut discretionary spending and add to the risk of a steeper and longer economic slowdown.

“In fact, as global concern about spiking oil prices this week shows, all sorts of macro-economic risks (such as US inflation and rising interest rates) come in to play. But let's step back a bit and look at what's happened to the price we're paying here in New Zealand.

“In May I wrote a teasing column on the prospect of fuel reaching $3 a litre,” he added.

Sources: nzherald.co.nz; nzresources.com

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A hefty petrol price in Wanaka. Source: Otago Daily Times.