Gordon Campbell | Parliament TV | Parliament Today | Video | Questions Of the Day | Search

 


Big trucks are big trouble

Big trucks are big trouble

Longer, heavier trucks will soon be on our roads meaning drivers should brace themselves for more road carnage, and more road damage, the Green Party said today.

The Government has today announced that heavier (up to 53 tonnes), longer (up to 22 metres) trucks will now be allowed to operate on our roads.

“Bigger trucks will have a devastating impact on our roads, on the road toll, and on the viability of rail and coastal shipping,” said Green Party transport spokesperson Gareth Hughes.

“Already trucks are involved in 16 percent of all deaths on the roads, even though they comprise only four percent of the vehicle fleet. Motorists will face even greater danger driving around increasing numbers of giant trucks.

“Ratepayers are also going to be subsidising these bigger trucks by paying for the increased damage they will inflict on our local roading network,” Mr Hughes said.

Hundreds of thousands of journeys in 53 tonne trucks will exponentially increase the damage to our roads. Increased RUC (Road User Charges) will not cover the increased costs of damage done to local roads. Neither will they cover the upgrading of hundreds of bridges in our road network to accommodate the increased loads.

“Most of the claimed productivity gains simply reflect the shifting of costs from trucking companies onto ratepayers,” said Mr Hughes.

“For example, benefit cost calculations for this decision were made on the assumption of an additional $150 million needed over 10 years for bridge upgrades. The actual cost of bridge upgrades could easily approach $380 million according to the Ministry of Transport’s own analysis. Trucking companies will not be paying for these additional costs. Motorists and ratepayers will.”

Freight volumes are forecast to grow by around 75 percent by 2030 and the vast bulk would go by heavy truck unless Transport Minister Steven Joyce takes a more strategic look at moving freight by more sustainable alternatives. KiwiRail estimates they will lose 12% of their freight tonnes because of this move to heavier trucks.

"Rail freight and coastal shipping are more sustainable, safe, and energy efficient modes for moving freight. Yet there has, to date, been no analysis of how allowing bigger trucks will undermine our rail and sea freight systems," Mr Hughes said.

In a report from the Treasury obtained under the Official Information Act, Treasury does not recommend a lifting on the restriction of heavy vehicle limits "until a more detailed analysis has been undertaken which considers the broader costs and benefits". This analysis has not been done.

"Supposed short-term productivity gains have blinded Minister into making a decision that will cost ratepayers and endanger road users. This is not a smart way to run our transport system or our economy," said Mr Hughes.

ENDS

© Scoop Media

 
 
 
 
 
Parliament Headlines | Politics Headlines | Regional Headlines

Open Source // Open Society - Full Coverage

Gordon Campbell:
On The Reserve Bank And Auckland Housing

The ‘crisis – what crisis?’ response by the government to the Auckland housing price bubble is no longer acceptable.

So says Reserve Bank governor Grant Spencer – who used unusually frank language in his speech and subsequent interviews yesterday to call for a capital gains tax, and to generally chastise central and local government for their inaction on a threat to the country’s economic health and financial stability.

That threat has been real for some time. The housing price bubble has already created a currency bubble... Undaunted, the government keeps calling this situation a success story. More>>

 

PARLIAMENT TODAY:

Bangladesh: GCSB Dragging NZ Into Human Rights Abuses

The New Zealand government should stop providing intelligence assistance to Bangladeshi security agencies that are known to systematically engage in human rights abuses, said the Green Party today. More>>

ALSO:

Troops Heading To Iraq: Government Must Come Clean On Deployment

New Zealanders deserve more than to hear about their troops’ deployment overseas from Australian media, Opposition Leader Andrew Little says. “News from Australia that Kiwi troops are on their way to Iraq this week is another example of the culture of secrecy and unknown protections around the deployment.” More>>

ALSO:

Image: Strikers And Protestors Join Outside McDonald's

A group of protestors took to McDonald’s Manners St today as a part of the international fast food workers day of action to end zero hour contracts. More>>

ALSO:

Greens: Special Education Funds Not Spent

More than $32 million of funding for children with special needs has not been spent by the Government, despite families of children with special needs complaining for years that they’ve been denied the support they deserve. More>>

ALSO:

John Key: Pre-Budget Speech To Business NZ

So this Government will remain relentlessly focused on improving the competitiveness of our economy... We will continue to give businesses a platform to invest, grow and create jobs in the knowledge they will be backed by a clear and consistent government policy programme. More>>

ALSO:

Multimedia: Andrew Little’s Response To John Key’s Pre-Budget Address

Labour Party leader Andrew Little spoke today on John Key’s pre-budget address this afternoon in Wellington. Little said National has had seven years to achieve a surplus and Kiwis have “fufilled their end of the bargain.” More>>

Surplus Baggage: Key Backs Off ‘Artificial Target’

John Key’s attempt to redefine his cornerstone promise of two election campaigns as an artificial target suggests his other promises are works of fiction, says Labour’s Finance spokesperson Grant Robertson. More>>

ALSO:

Gordon Campbell: On UE Pass Rates And University Dropout Rates

Houston, there is clearly a problem with (a) the plunge in pass rates for University Entrance qualifications, which has been especially steep among Maori students and also a problem with (b) the failure rates for Maori students among those who reach university... Unfortunately the two problems seem related. More>>

Get More From Scoop

 

LATEST HEADLINES

 
 
 
 
 
More RSS  RSS
 
 
 
 
Parliament
Search Scoop  
 
 
Powered by Vodafone
NZ independent news