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Concerns LTMB will end up worse than proposed

Media Statement Monday, 15 September 2003

Concerns LTMB will end up worse than proposed

“The Employers & Manufacturers Association is alarmed that the Land Transport Bill which we had serious concerns with will end up even worse than was proposed,” said Alasdair Thompson, Chief Executive.

“The Land Transport Management Bill, delayed in its return to Parliament till the end of this month, has apparently changed for the worse – now containing some of the ‘red green’ aspects of the now-abandoned Traffic Reduction Bill (discouraging motorists from using their cars).

“The Land Transport Management Bill will do nothing whatever to fix the single biggest problem for New Zealand roads – road user money being diverted to other areas, starving road development of funds – and will actually result in more money being siphoned away from roads.

“Meanwhile, officials from central government and Auckland local government are working on a funding package for Auckland. Cynics suggest it’s designed to keep Aucklanders quiet, but will bring no joy to the rest of the country. The Land Transport Management Bill – the price Labour is prepared to pay to keep the Green party onside – is bad news for any business reliant on efficient road transport.

“Worse still, it’s rumoured that road user funds are to prop up waterside unions. Rumours have it that recent amendments to the Land Transport Management Bill will also use road user funds to subsidise coastal shipping operations.

EMA Northern reacted strongly to the suggestion. We said, “If Government adopts a backdoor route like this to answer the Seamen’s Union call for cabotage, the price will be further under-investment in roads and less efficiency on our coast…None of the dire predictions made in 1994 came about when cabotage was abandoned. Coastal shipping didn’t fail; the fleet has stayed the same.

Employment on coastal water transport didn’t decline but held steady at around 1200 people. Freight prices went down, not up, while the number of ports served went from seven in 1994 to 11 in 2000 with an increase in the types of services provided …Bringing back cabotage would shore up less than 100 jobs while costing the jobs on land of thousands in manufacturing and other value added enterprises throughout the supply chain.”

“The Shipping Federation has since asked for cabotage to be reinstated and have confirmed coastal shipping costs are likely to rise by 10%. And the rest,” said Mr Thompson.

© Scoop Media

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