The Maritime Union is backing Green Party calls for the Government to reconsider its push to put oversized trucks on New Zealand roads.
Maritime Union General Secretary Trevor Hanson says the Government is obviously not concerned at the extra deaths and injuries that will occur as a result on New Zealand roads.
“Has the Government considered the personal losses and increased costs in medical care and ACC payments resulting from accidents? Has it weighed the environmental costs and calculated the extra emissions that juggernaut trucks will produce?”
Mr Hanson says local ratepayers will be paying the bill to realign bridges, repair roads, and be responsible for all the future damage caused by the introduction of bigger trucks.
“Large trucking companies seem to be pulling the Government’s strings and their profits are being subsidized by the taxpayer and the ratepayer.”
He says the Government has abdicated its responsibility by completely abandoning any attempt to develop an integrated, long term transport solution for New Zealand that recognizes the economic, social and environmental importance of coastal shipping and thriving regional ports.
“Coastal shipping requires no infrastructure upkeep – by sailing on the ‘blue highway’ it does away with the need for the vast expense of fixing roads for oversize trucks.”
The Government has directed enormous resources towards roading but has slashed the already tiny budget for support of environmentally friendly coastal shipping.
Under the current direction, it is estimated bigger trucks will make at least 620,000 trips on our roads each year.
Mr Hanson says coastal ships can carry 1000 containers, keep extra traffic off roads, reduce dependence on fossil fuels, lower carbon emissions, are noise free and require no infrastructure maintenance as they sail on the ‘blue highway’.
“The Government has reverted to a backward looking, short term approach which will have major negative consequences for New Zealand. New Zealanders must start to get active to defend their future before we are locked into the roadhog’s charter.”