New Zealanders rally behind nationwide petrol boycott

A nationwide petrol boycott has been planned to take place later this month, as Kiwis rally against the Government for increasing petrol prices. 

The boycott has come to attention through a Facebook page, which calls on the people of New Zealand to "take a stand against our petrol industry." 

"These [price] increases are affecting all of us, for some the impact is immediate [and] for others long term," the event's description says. 

The boycott is planned to take place on October 26, where participants are encouraged to avoid filling up at all petrol stations across the country. 

More than 7000 people have committed to the boycott, with a further 10,000 showing interest in making a stand, united against what the group calls "unjustified" price increases. 

Some have pointed to specifically boycotting Z Energy, which is partially owned by the New Zealand Superannuation Fund. But Z Energy says its pricing decisions are made "completely independently of all taxes, which are decided on, and enforced by, the Government."

The boycott organisers have encouraged people to "consider looking around and purchasing petrol only from the lowest priced station in your vicinity."

The looming boycott comes after petrol prices increased by 3.5 cents nationwide last week as an increase to the fuel excise tax came into effect. Further 3.5 percent increases will be introduced in 2019 and 2020. 

The Government's plan to increase the excise duty on petrol by 10.5 cents a litre over the next two years will fund transport plans. The funds will go towards light rail from Auckland CBD to the airport, as well as walking and cycling projects and regional roads. 

The latest tax increase follows the introduction of Auckland Transport's regional fuel tax introduced in July, which saw petrol prices jump 11.5 cents a litre in Auckland. The first project to be funded by the tax is the $62 million Matakana Link Rd in Warkworth.  

Further increases to petrol prices could come into effect if the Accident Compensation Corporation's proposed higher levies for motorists in New Zealand are approved by the Government. This would increase petrol prices by almost 2 cents a litre.  

In some areas of New Zealand, petrol prices have crept up to more than $2.50 per litre for 91. It's projected that prices could hit $2.70 by next year, which would be devastating for low-income families, says economist Shamubeel Eaqub. 

National leader Simon Bridges says the fuel tax increases are "shameful" and said he blames the Government. He told The AM Show New Zealanders should be getting "more of their hard-earned money."