[28 June/Rural News]

The Regional Fuel Tax introduced by Labour this week has caused confusion in the horticulture sector. Horticulture New Zealand Chief Executive, Mike Chapman, said the tax did not have an exemption system for off-road behind the farm gate vehicles and machinery. He added 441 fruit and vegetable growers in Auckland would be affected. He emphasised that growers should not have to pay the tax for vehicles and machinery that were meant to be excluded from the tax. Mr Chapman said growers would have to go through a complicated and costly process to get a rebate on the tax paid. He added the process was rushed to meet its deadline and those in the horticulture industry were not listened to. The tax would affect growers’ businesses and costs considerably. These costs would be passed on to consumers.