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