Improve the Roads, Make Trucks Bigger
Improvements to the road network are necessary if we are to increase the size of trucks, ACT MP Penny Webster said today.
"Jeanette Fitzsimons and Sue Kedgley's calls for more freight to be carried by rail are shortsighted and reactionary. The Greens have not thought through the issue. They use emotive arguments and incorrect statistics."
LTSA statistics show that in 1999, trucks were involved in seven per cent of fatal accidents - far below the 20 per cent figure claimed yesterday by Ms Fitzsimons and Ms Kedgley.
"Forcing companies to move freight on trains may be all very well for businesses based on major trunk lines. But there are hundreds of towns that the trains go nowhere near. Wanganui and New Plymouth are just two examples, to say nothing of double-handling getting freight to and from rail-heads.
"If our road network is up to scratch, there is absolutely nothing to fear from allowing bigger trucks.
"A ten per cent reduction in freight costs would create 33,000 new full-time jobs. It is time for the Greens to use more common sense and business acumen in this debate," Penny Webster said.