Early next year we will formally launch the Transporting New Zealand Green Compact: our framework for decarbonising road transport by 2050.

To date, we’ve seen a lot of dithering about by Government, along with ideology-driven funding for rail and coastal shipping, rather than backing practical policies that will reduce emissions.

In the meantime, Transporting New Zealand hasn’t been sitting on its hands. The Green Compact will outline our commitment to responsible emissions reduction and creating an environment where trucking operators can drive successful, safe and sustainable businesses.

We adopted the Green Compact from the International Road Transport Union, meaning that we can utilise research and policy work from industry leaders across the world. The Green Compact programme is currently in the evidence-gathering stage, however testing and implementing policy and technological solutions will start in earnest next year.

Our industry needs to be actively participating in the conversation about emission reduction, or key decisions about the transport sector and freight will be made without us. In doing this, Transporting New Zealand is committed to being evidence-based, pragmatic, and open-minded. This year alone we have demonstrated this by:

  • supporting the Government’s Sustainable Biofuels Obligation;
  • advocating for accelerated depreciation for low and zero emission vehicles;
  • discussing with EECA how our industry can lift rates of fuel-efficient driver training;
  • successfully lobbying for an extension of half-price public transport fares as part of the Government’s transport support package (alongside RUC and FED reductions);
  • lobbying councils, Waka Kotahi, and MoT to take emissions impacts into account when planning roads, setting speed limits, and obstructing traffic flow

It seems particularly fitting to be discussing the Green Compact now, following the recent COP27 climate conference in Egypt. 2022 has also been a year of increasingly wild weather events that has damaged roading and other infrastructure. Dealing with climate change and its impacts is now an essential part of doing business. It’s also a leading political issue, even as the economic outlook worsens. A November NZME poll ranked climate change second only to the cost of living crisis as the most important issue facing New Zealanders.

Despite these challenges, New Zealand’s trucking industry is in a fundamentally good position. The freight task is forecast to grow 54 per cent over the next 30 years, and zero-emission vehicle technologies give us a clear long-term path to emission reduction.

However, we also need to seize carbon reduction opportunities in the short to medium term, or road freight will increasingly lose ground to rail and coastal shipping. Guided by the Green Compact, and with support from operators, consumers and government, I’m confident our industry can meet the challenge.

– Nick Leggett is chief executive of Ia Ara Aotearoa Transporting New Zealand.

And you can listen to me talking to David Killick below.

Please note: The content of this Advisory has been issued to inform members of Transporting New Zealand. It is for road freight transport industry circulation, not for media publication. It can be forwarded in its entirety to members of Transporting New Zealand. It cannot be reproduced, or printed in parts, under any logo other than Ia Ara Aotearoa Transporting New Zealand’s logo, without written permission from Transporting New Zealand.