Tax legislation makes Green Party change to public transport tax

Following years of political pressure from the Green Party the Government will finally exclude public transport subsidies from the fringe benefit tax.

“This is a huge Green win that we have been pushing for many years. It will finally rebalance the tax law so that public transport passes are treated in the same way as ‘free’ car parks,” say the Green Party’s transport spokesperson, Julie Anne Genter. 

The Taxation (Annual Rates for 2022–23, Platform Economy, and Remedial Matters) Bill was introduced to Parliament this afternoon. 

Significantly, the Bill will introduce a fringe benefit tax exemption for public transport. This means that when an employer subsidises public transport passes for staff as a part of their salary package, they will not be taxed.

“The Green Party has long campaigned for more accessible buses, trains and ferries. The tax change the Government is making is a fantastic step in the right direction that will encourage businesses to support clean modes of transport.

“Transport makes up a significant and growing percentage of New Zealand’s climate pollution. We know that to ensure a stable planet we need to halve fossil fuel use by 2030 and eliminate fossil fuels completely by 2050. 

“Until now, our tax rules have made achieving this harder than it should be. Providing an employee with a free car park has effectively been subsidised by the Government, while providing a public transport pass, for example, has been taxed. 

“After years of pressure from the Greens the Government is finally stepping in to fix this. It is a long overdue change that will help level the playing field between the different options people have for travelling to and from work.

“It also delivers a major part of the member’s bill I introduced in July last year. However, there is still more to do.

“We need the Government to go one step further and remove the fringe benefit tax from e-bikes and zero emissions motor vehicles provided to staff.

“We should also close the double cab ute loophole that incentivises the purchase of these high emission vehicles,” says Julie Anne Genter.

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