Truck plan means more blood on roads

The Maritime Union of New Zealand has slammed Government proposals to allow larger and heavier trucks on New Zealand roads as irresponsible and short-sighted.

The Union says New Zealand needs to promote low-impact, environmentally efficient modes such as coastal shipping and rail to handle the growth in freight, not bigger trucks.

Maritime Union of New Zealand General Secretary Trevor Hanson says proposed changes to land transport rules would see larger, heavier trucks dominating New Zealand roads for years to come.

“Roads will become more dangerous and more crowded leading to more and worse accidents – more blood on the road.”

He says using coastal shipping for heavy goods would make roads safer as there were already many accidents involving trucks on New Zealand roads.

Public submissions on the Government proposal close this week.

Mr Hanson says the trucking plan is doubly short sighted as increases in fuel costs and emissions will soon hit New Zealand hard, and road transport is the least preferable option.

He says the Government appears to be “living in a fantasy world.”

“Every day you can read in the newspaper that reliance on fossil fuels and greenhouse gas emissions are placing us in severe danger, yet the Government wants to make us more dependent on outmoded and harmful transport modes such as big trucks.”

“Ordinary New Zealanders will end up subsidizing the increased charges for transport and the costs of repairing the damage to our roads from heavier use.”

The Union says that it will be difficult to upgrade all New Zealand roads and the impact of massive trucks on small rural roads would be especially serious.

Mr Hanson says if the plan goes ahead it would “torpedo” any hopes of a modern, integrated transport system for New Zealand.

“Pushing mega-trucks as the basis of transport in New Zealand is really a backwards step that will have negative effects in the medium to long term.”

“Rising fuel costs and environmental pressures are already major problems, and will soon cancel out any so-called productivity gains.”

The Maritime Union represents workers on the New Zealand waterfront, and in the New Zealand shipping and offshore industry.

The Government proposals can be viewed here

2 thoughts on “Truck plan means more blood on roads

  • July 22, 2009 at 11:51 pm

    This is bollocks.Most towns have no ports or rail.We need the trucks.Better diesel is friendlier to the environment and helps to reduce emissions.Yes there is a high amount of accidents involving trucks, but these are usually caused by careless and impatient car drivers and are very rarely the fault of truck drivers.Good on the government I say.

    • July 23, 2009 at 1:29 am

      You’re missing the point. Obviously trucks are needed to get the freight to rail depots or ports (of which most larger towns and cities have one or both.) But it is madness to keep on putting bigger and bigger trucks on the road, just as it is madness to keep on building bigger and bigger roads.

      “Better diesel” does not solve the simple fact that trucks use far more fuel than trains or ships.

      The world is running out of fossil fuels, global warming caused by emissions is a major threat to the planet, yet the Government and some people seem to want to put their head in the sand and ignore this reality and keep on building more roads and relying on road transport which is just going to make the inevitable shift to more sensible transport modes harder.

      Whether or not accidents are the fault of truck drivers or car drivers is immaterial. Putting bigger, heavier trucks on the road will lead to more accidents and worse outcomes. So why do it?


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