Let’s all pay by phone

Remember the last National Government’s stupid hospital outpatient fees back in the 1990s? The ones that were eventually scrapped because they often cost more to collect than the revenue raised.

Well, it seems the last Labour Government fell into similar folly with its toll charges on the Orewa-Puhoi motorway.

Brian Rudman reveals in the New Zealand Herald that it costs $1.29 in transaction costs to collect each $2.00 car toll.

And for people who pay the toll by phone, it costs $2.70 to collect each $2.00 toll.

If everyone who travels on the Orewa-Puhoi motorway were to pay by phone, the NZ Transport Agency would make a thumping great loss from its tolling regime. And raising the toll to cover the administration costs would be extremely unpopular – remember how Maurice Williamson was shut down so quickly by John Key and Bill English during the election campaign when he suggested a $5 toll on new roads. That statement probably cost Williamson a senior Cabinet position.

So isn’t it time for a bit of people power. Let’s all pay by phone if we use the Orewa-Puhoi motorway, and we’ll soon see the end of the tolling regime.

And let the Orewa-Puhoi motorway debacle be a lesson to the current National Government, who seem to think that tolling and PPPs are a great way to fund its “Roads of National Significance”.