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1 April 2005

For immediate release



Rural Women rail against petrol price hikes


Rural Women New Zealand is concerned at the impact of today's petrol price hikes on rural communities, following the Government's 5c a litre increase in fuel tax and 24 per cent increase in road-user charges for light diesel vehicles.


While town dwellers are smarting at today's price rises, drivers in rural areas are the hardest hit by the record fuel prices. Prices at the pumps in some rural areas are up to 6.5 cents a litre higher than in urban areas.

“This will severely impact on rural communities,” says Rural Women New Zealand President, Sherrill Dackers.


“The effects of deregulation and the additional fuel tax are compounded by the fact that 140 petrol stations around New Zealand are closing, meaning people will have to drive further to buy fuel.”


The inequity of the cost of transport is also highlit in a report published today by the Ministry of Transport on the total charges paid by users of New Zealand 's road and rail system.


One of the main findings of the “Surface Transport Costs and Charges Study “ is that users of urban local roads pay a lower proportion of costs than users of rural roads.


The fuel tax price hike follows on from further unwelcome transport news for rural communities this week as R ail company Toll New Zealand announced that seven small-town stops were to be axed from for its daily North Island Overlander service. The company will cut out stops at Te Kauwhata, Huntly, Te Awamutu, Waiouru, Taihape, Otaki and Waikanae in a bid to fast track Auckland to Wellington travel times.


“More and more rural towns are being isolated,” says Sherrill Dackers. “It almost appears to be a campaign to shut down rural communities.”



For further information contact:

Sherrill Dackers

National President - Rural Women New Zealand





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