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The Government Takes From Motorists And Rail And Gives To The Road Transport Industry

The government has announced and new set of taxes for motorists to pay for damage caused by the road transport industry!

Car registration will rise by $50 and fuel tax will increase in the government’s next term. There is no announcement that road user charges for heavy vehicles will rise.

Niall Robertson, the national coordinator of TRAC says, “This smacks of pork barrel politics as the government was unwilling to pay an extra $1.5billion to shore up the New Zealand Main Trunk Railway across Cook Strait with rail capable ferries, but will spend $4.8 billion on pot holes caused by trucks!”

Robertson goes on to say that this will be funded by motorists, “ the 2022-23 funding of roads charges drew $7.892 Billion from vehicles weighing below 3.5 tonnes but only $785 million from vehicles over 3.5 tonnes, and now they are taking more from the motorists. This is an undeserved subsidy to heavy vehicles”.

Chair of TRAC Guy Wellwood says, “This government delude themselves that road transport is cheaper to pay for, so have many anti-rail policies. The foolishness of increasing the weight, length and speed of heavy road vehicles in recent times is now seeing the chickens come home to roost”

Wellwood goes on to say that in the Hawkes Bay, the Napier to Gisborne line remains closed, but Wellwood says, “...Greg Miller estimated opening the line for $200 million with brand new 50kg rail, but this could be trimmed to $150 million with recycled and existing rail and a tunnel at Beach loop. The Esk Valley damage could be paid for by insurance but the government has prevented KiwiRail from making a claim”.

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Wellwood says, “What bugs me the most is that the government has allowed a budget of between $1 billion to $1,8 billion for road improvements on this route where the biggest road improvement would be to lessen the number of trucks on it”

Robertson says, “In many ways the new government policy seems to be taking us away from the old “fair go” value New Zealand used to have. Now it is time that rail and road were treated fairly and as integrated parts of one transport system in order to get the best out of both modes, and the way to do this is to charge heavy vehicles based on the damage they do, the size of road they need, the road safety consequences of heavy vehicles and the congestion they add to. Rail does none of this but has always paid for its own infrastructure”

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