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Longer, Heavier Trucks Must Be Stopped

Green Party Transport Spokesperson Sue Kedgley today said if the Government wanted to bring down the road toll it must turn down proposals to make trucks five metres longer and 20 tonnes heavier.

Submissions close today on Transit New Zealand proposals to increase the maximum length of trucks from 20 to 25 metres and increase the maximum weight by nearly 50 per cent to 62 tonnes.

"While trucks constitute only three per cent of the total vehicles in New Zealand, trucks were involved in 23 per cent of all road fatalities, or the deaths of 111 people, in the year to 31 January 2000," said Ms Kedgley.

"The Greens are astounded that Transit, which has road safety as one of its objectives, would be putting forward this proposal that will inevitably result in more accidents and fatalities on our roads."

Ms Kedgley said as well as increasing road fatalities, the proposal would also be a nail in the coffin of rail in New Zealand.

"If we make carrying freight on public roads cheaper by allowing trucks to be bigger and carry heavier loads there will be more and more freight carried on our roads by these juggernaut trucks," she said.

"If we allow this to happen very soon carrying freight by rail will simply be uneconomic. This would inevitably lead to the disintegration of our rail network.

"Moving freight by rail is much safer than using roads which are not designed for heavy loads and is five times more energy efficient than trucks per tonne - kilometre."

Ms Kedgley said the number of trucks on New Zealand roads was already a serious issue for New Zealand and was a huge concern for motorists.

"We urge the Government to reject this proposal and commit to getting freight off our roads and onto the railways," she said.

Ends


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