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IPENZ – New Zealand’s RUC is a world leader

7th May 2009

IPENZ – New Zealand’s RUC is a world leader

IPENZ supports the road user charges (RUC) review has come out to retain and enhance the existing arrangement, where the heaviest vehicles pay more for their road use.

“Only by having this, we will have a system where trucks that cause the most damage to roads will pay for that damage,” says Tim Davin, Director of Policy for the Institution of Professional Engineers of New Zealand.

“We fully support the recommendation in the Review, that the NZ Transport Agency undertakes an empirical study into the actual pavement conditions throughout New Zealand’s road network and evaluates the impact of axle loads on road wear and the resulting cost of road maintenance,” says Tim Davin.

“While there may be a debate about what formula to use – and that can be clarified, it is very important that NZ not throw out the entire system –and go to a diesel tax. When the NZ Road User Charges (RUC) was introduced it was recognised as a world leader by relating road charges to road damage. While the formula has been challenged and there are compliance issues – it is still a fundamentally sound approach,” says Mr Davin.

“Continuing with the principles of RUC will enable NZ to transition to electronic RUC, potentially within 5 years, which would dramatically reduce compliance costs and provide much more accurate charging.”

“So let’s retain and improve the system we have, rather than throwing the baby out with the bath water.”

Currently trucks pay RUC on the basis of the 4th power rule i.e. double the truck weight then charges are increased 16 fold. A range of studies have been undertaken that confirm this reflects the damage to roads. Some other studies have arrived at a 2nd power rule – i.e. for double the weight, the charge would be a four fold increase


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