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Commercial road users treated with contempt

July 2nd, 2008

Maurice Williamson MP
National Party Transport Spokesman

2 July 2008

Minister treats commercial road users with contempt

Transport Minister Annette King has treated commercial road users with contempt by sneakily raising road user charges without any warning, says National's Transport spokesman, Maurice Williamson.

"Annette King promised last year to give a month's notice of any future increase to road user charges. She appeared to acknowledge that commercial road users were entitled to plan for any hike in charges.

"But that assurance has proven empty. Annette King instead, chose to announce the increase as quietly as possible, posting it on the Government's website late in the evening.

"The increase is estimated to push up the cost of running a 20-tonne truck by more than $56,000 a year. The industry is incensed by the Minister's cavalier approach to this and is considering blockades to protest the increase."

Mr Williamson says the increase doesn't just affect trucking operators.

"The 7% rise hits school bus operators in the hip pocket and, cruelly, the New Zealand consumer.

"Annette King's sleight of hand will pile extra costs on to Kiwi households which are already feeling the pinch in every way, from rising living costs and crippling interest rates to record fuel prices.

"Her actions have, unfortunately, been driven by blind ideology which prevents her from exploring a range of other funding mechanisms to ensure that new roading infrastructure can be funded.

"Annette King needs to explain why she's broken a key promise.

"She also needs to clarify whether it is just a co-incidence that the increase came into effect the very same day Labour took control of the rail operator, and that Labour is not moving to make the cost of trucking operations prohibitive in order to force more freight on to the business it now owns.

"That scenario is commonly known as a conflict of interest."

ENDS


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