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Farmers Win Reprieve

16 September 2005

Farmers Win Reprieve

Farmers have won a reprieve from ill-thought-out rules forcing them to label tractors and trailers with information on towing capacity, said Hugh Ritchie of Federated Farmers of New Zealand.

The new rules are due to take effect on October 1. But after an approach by the Federation, the Police agreed that there is a problem with the rules, and they won't be a focus of enforcement officers' attention at this time," said Mr Ritchie, the Federation's transport spokesman.

"The Federation believes the new rules are impractical and, in some cases, compliance is impossible. The information required to be displayed was neither available nor relevant for most equipment. The Federation also believes the rule served no useful purpose for drivers of agricultural equipment or for Police.

"Farmers will welcome this reprieve as there has been considerable concern among the rural community. For example, last week about 250 people attended a meeting of farmers, growers and rural contractors in south Auckland to discuss the new rules. The Franklin meeting was understandably volatile as some of the regulations impact adversely on many agricultural businesses.

"Here's an example of why the rules don't work: the recommended tractor to pull a 15 tonne loaded silage wagon is 150 horsepower. The tractor's manufacturer stipulates the tractor's towing capacity in terms of the total weight its towing connection can pull (as though the trailer was being lifted off the ground). For a 150hp tractor, this capacity is 11.5 tonnes.

"Under the rules, the driver would be breaking the law. But we are not comparing apples with apples because you don’t need to be able to lift 15 tonnes to safely tow a 15 tonne trailer. Clearly, the rules are flawed.

"Federated Farmers met with Land Transport New Zealand on September 9 with the aim of achieving a stay of proceedings pending a full investigation into the nature and extent of the safety issues Land Transport New Zealand is seeking to address.

"Federated Farmers is committed to finding a practical solution to genuine safety issues identified by that Land Transport NZ that are not covered by other current Rules and Regulations," Mr Ritchie said.

ENDS

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