The nation’s leading road transport organisation wants to see the benefits of the government’s proposed nationwide fuel tax but warns it will have consequences
“We realise more investment is needed in transport infrastructure, but it is a case of what the priorities are,” says National Road Carriers Association CEO David Aitken.
“There are no detailed solutions in the policy statement and how long is it going to take?
“Our members may be prepared to pay an extra tax but want to see tangible freight benefits.”
“As the population grows and our big cities expand there is going to be more demand for freight to be moved and much of it can only be moved by truck.
“And more trucks need better, safer and less congested roads.”
Aitken says the more time trucks spent on the road making deliveries, the greater the cost to everybody.
While improving public and active transport was important, the growth in road freight in the next 20 to 30 years will require more spending on roads not less.
“The current infrastructure is not coping – particularly in Auckland – and it is only getting worse.”
The proposals in the Government Policy Statement for land transport “offers little” to improve the movement of freight the life blood required to keep a city functioning.
“A growing population increases demand for all the things we consume on a daily basis and most of it is delivered by trucks.
“This demand means more trucks on our already clogged roads.”
Aitken says it wasn’t just the freight transport sector which would grow.
“Look at all the tradesmen and courier vehicles on our roads. There are going to be more of them too.”
He believes that the civil engineering; commercial and residential building industries also created a lot of heavy transport movements, which are also increasing.
“You only have to look at new developments on the outskirts of Auckland at Kumeu, Pokeno, Drury and Paerata, but no extra transport infrastructure of any kind is in place to support the rapidly growing population.”
Increased rail and sea freight for bulk, non-perishable items were welcomed by the road freight transport sector, Aitken says, but the proportion of the total freight load carried by each will remain similar into the future.
All modes will carry increased volume, with road freight still taking around 90 percent by virtue of being the only freight option with door to door capability.
NRC would oppose increased fuel taxes being taken from the road transport industry and ultimately its customers and then funding any other types of transport apart from roading.
“The road user charges and land transport fund have historically been used for road projects including road safety improvements and enforcement.”
Aitken says that whatever the government finally decided to do, any increase in fuel taxes would ultimately be passed onto the end consumer, together with any increased administration costs.
“The cost of just about everything a household consumes will go up,” Aitken warns.
“Because most of it has a trucking component, the fuel tax will become a tax on freight.”
National Road Carriers is the leading nationwide organisation representing companies involved in the road transport industry, with 1700 members who collectively operate 15,000 trucks throughout New Zealand.