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Subsidising monster trucks comes at cost to safety

29 August 2012

Subsidising monster trucks comes at cost to safety

The National Government’s $45 million plan to open up more routes to 53-tonne trucks comes at the same time it is cutting spending on road safety and rail, Green Party transport spokesperson Julie Anne Genter said today.

The National Land Transport Programme (NLTP) announced today contains $45 million to allow new, more dangerous 53-tonne trucks on to more routes. It also cuts spending on road policing by $8 million from $308 million in 2011/12 to $300 million in the coming years and cuts road safety promotion by $9 million from $41 million in 2011/12 to $32 million in the outyears. Funding for rail and sea freight disappears entirely, negating an alternative option to get freight off the roads.

The trucking lobby, the Road Transport Forum, has been a significant donor to the National Party.

“The National Government is subsidising the trucking industry and making our roads more dangerous while cutting spending on road safety,” said Ms Genter.

“$17 million a year has been cut from road policing and safety, yet $45 million can be found for the trucking lobby.

“Large trucks cause more danger on our roads and cause exponentially more damage to road surfaces than lighter vehicles.

“The government-owned Kiwirail is currently running a campaign pointing out the safety benefits of moving by rail rather than truck, and yet here is the Government subsidising large trucks while under-investing in rail.

“It would be a far better use of public money to find $4 million to repair the Gisborne-Napier rail line and get dozens of trucks off a narrow, winding route each week.

“While public transport service funding has increased and that is welcome, it is only a reflection of increased demand from New Zealanders for alternatives to commuting by car.

“Spending on public transport infrastructure is needed to increase capacity to cope with burgeoning demand for travel by bus and train, yet National has cut $31 million over three years from public transport infrastructure in the new NLTP compared to the previous one.

“A smart, green approach to transport investment means putting money into improving safety, better buses and trains, walking, and cycling – not subsidising the trucking industry.

“Smart, green transport investment is better for safety, the economy, and New Zealand families,” said Ms Genter.

© Scoop Media

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