The Akaroa Mail. FRIDAY, JULY 24, 1914. THE MOTOR BILL.
The new Motor Tax Bill that was introduced to the House of Representatives on Friday last is the realisation that the New Zealand .Counties' Association has been striving at for some time past, , It is no exaggeration to say motor traffic ba3 raised the cosb of rrad maintenance nearly a hundred per cent, and local bodies all over the dominion have felt the drain upon their revenue extra cost of maintenance caused by the increase in motor traffic. Although the provisions for taxation may not be exactly perfect;, they will be adjusted in the course of the Bill through the House, but its main provision that tbe whole tax should be spent on the roads is one that will satisfy both motorists and local bodies. The popularity of the motor run from Christchurch to Akaroa has been evidence of the heavy cost of maintenance, over which a great deal of motor traffic passes, and for the past two or three years both the Wairewa and Akaroa County Councils have considered that the increasing cost of maintenance to the main road has been an unjust expenditure as far as tbeir ratepayers are
A Wellington correspondent wriier?: —"The Government will not participate in the revenue to be raised by tbe proposed tax on motor vehicles as the money must, be , spent on road maintenance and improvement. However, somo attempt has been made to estimate !ho probable yield of the tax according to the scale set out in the Motor Bill. A suggestion came from the Opposition when tbe Bill was \a ttofluced that between £25,000 and £30,000 would be raiped. This was referred to by tbe Minister of Finance as being under the mark I hear that id Government circles tbe beliet prevails that the tax will yield at least £70,000 pot- annum."
The question as to the allocation of • money was touched upon by Dr. W. H Simpson, president of the Canter bury Automobile Association, when interviewed by a "Lyttelton Times" reporter. Ho said ; "The money raided hy tbo tux was to be epont on the improvement or upkeep of roads and motorists felt that they should have some voice in the allocation of tbe money. If the tax had to be spent on roads they wanted to be in a position to say which roads. It had been suggested that in each centre there should be a committee of five members, twofroru tbe local authority, two representing the motorists, and, say, the Public Works engineer, and that this committee should allocate the mont'y,'
Tbe discussion on !he Bill in tbe House when introduced is.of interest.
Tbe Bon. A. L. Heidman, in charge of the Bill, explained that it provided that all motor cars should be registered, and that all owners should be required to pay in respect of every car an annual license fee.
Mr T. M. Wilford (Hutt) said that he thought, that in the end the Bill would be a very good one, but he would recommend the frarner of the Bill to look up the remits sent to the Minister from the recent conference concerning motor traffic in Wellington. He thought the Minister would be well advised to take the opinion of experts with regard to tbe tax. The Right Hon. W- F Massey, replying to Mr Wilford, said he believed English horse-power in moter-cars wa3 very much more than American [horsepower, and it was propoeed t.bat there should be regulations to rectify this by providing that for the purpose of taxation one horse-power British gbould be considered as e§ual to IJ or borse-power American.
Mr Wilford : Then that puts you all wrong with the ltala and Fiat.
Mr Massey said that to adopt a proposal by Mr Wilford to tax tyres would be to put a burden on a man using his car daily for business pur. poses, and let off lightly the rich man who used his car for recreation.
Sir Joseph Ward (Awarua) asked whether all the tax would be used for road making (and he was assured that it would). But he suggested that the tax would not yield any amount likely to do much in the way of providing
motor roads. Mr A. H. Hindmarsb (Wellington South) suggested that the Minister should make the car liable for damages
in respect of an accident. This would
not affect the owners of cars generally, but it would affect those cases in which cars were sold on time payment to taxi drivers. When -one of these drivers got into an accident, he was, of course, too impecunious to pay damages, and the real owner of the car, on which probably only a few pounds bad been paid, escaped all. penalty.
Mr A M. Myers (Auckland) welcomed the introduction of the Bill, and snid that motorists would be glad to pay a fee if they got better roade. Hβ would, however, suggest that the Minister should not- press the Bill through until its financial corollary was dealt with by the sotting up of a Main Roads Board. Mr G. W. Russell (Avon) made an unexpected declaration, " I wish," he said, "to take this earliest opportnnity of entering a firm protest RKiinst tbe introduction of the Bill. It seems to me tbe Government ars looking round for fresh subjects for
taxation. They must be looking
round when they propose to tax every man who drives a taxi cab or a
motor cycle." Theu he objected to
fcho tax because it was a claes tax— against a particular class of locomotion. And, last o£ all, he said, the rich man who owned motor cars could be reached in another way.