Thursday, May 19

New Zealand Mulls Measures to Reduce Gasoline Prices After Surge

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(Bloomberg) — New Zealand may announce measures Monday to reduce gasoline prices, possibly by temporarily lowering fuel taxes, Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern said.

Acknowledging for the first time that soaring inflation is causing a cost of living crisis for many families, Ardern said Cabinet will this afternoon consider ways to reduce pressure at the gasoline pump.

“You can call it a crisis, an emergency, a shock, the point is we need to do something about it,” Ardern told Newshub. “We’re looking at options to try and ease the particular impact of the energy crisis right now that we’re seeing as a result of the war in Ukraine. We, as a Cabinet, need to discuss what the best mechanisms are.”

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New Zealand gasoline prices have surged above NZ$3 a liter ($2.04) in the past week, driven by the rise in global oil prices amid supply concerns due to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.

Speaking to Radio New Zealand in another interview, Ardern indicated one measure under consideration was a temporary reduction in the excise tax on gasoline, which is used to fund things like road maintenance.

“I don’t think you’ve seen any country who is cutting permanently, because you have to supplement those projects,” she said. “But we’re looking at a range of options, because, as I say, it is an acute energy crisis we’re seeing right now.”

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