Auckland fuel tax won't last long - Goff

Auckland's Mayor expects the fuel tax to only last a few years, because we'll all be driving electric cars soon enough.

Motorists in the permanently gridlocked city will soon be paying 11.5c extra per litre to help fund transport infrastructure. The tax will replace the interim transport levy, which Mayor Phil Goff says is unfair to people who hardly use the roads.

"We've done away with the inequitable interim transport levy. [The fuel tax] is user pays and it makes sense. It's much fairer."

He expects it will be in place for around four or five years.

"It won't be there forever, because give us 10 years and most of us - like I am - will be driving electric cars... You'll see the removal of the fuel tax because it will be irrelevant because more and more people will be travelling in electric-powered cars."

But motorists still won't be off the hook - the fuel tax will probably be replaced with a congestion charge.

"I think you'll simply have a form of smarter road pricing that takes into account how often you drive and what times of the day you drive, to try to reduce congestion by managing demand."

That option was ditched in favour of the fuel tax because Mr Goff says the technology isn't quite there yet.

"We're not going to go into technology that's not yet proven."

Mr Goff dismissed criticism the new council budget proposal breaks his promise of not increasing rates more than 2.5 percent.

On top of the 2.5 percent general increase is an additional 2.8 percent to improve water quality, and another 0.9 percent to deal with problems such as kauri dieback. All up critics say rates are rising 6.2 percent, but with the removal of the interim transport levy, Mr Goff says the actual rise will be 1.4 percent.

But that doesn't include the cost of the regional fuel tax, which is expected to wipe out the savings to ratepayers by dropping the interim transport levy.

"They know why they're paying that - we've got gridlock on the roads," said Mr Goff. "I can do nothing about it, if that's what you'd prefer me to do, or I can try to put more money into investment into our infrastructure."

Auckland regularly tops international lists of the world's slowest and most gridlocked cities.