It’s certainly not what we wanted to hear – especially right on Christmas. The Government’s announcement that it will axe the transport support package next year is a kick in the guts for the transport industry. The Government has turned into the Christmas grinch and

these changes will hurt both road transport businesses and consumers already struggling with rising costs and high inflation.

Road user charge (RUC) discounts will end as planned on January 31. The petrol tax cut has been extended until the end of March, but the subsidy will halve from the end of February.

Half-price public transport will also end on March 31, although it will still apply to people with community service cards.

Despite our representations to Transport Minister Michael Wood, the industry has been totally ignored and kiwis will be hit hard in the pocket.

Everything that travels on the back of a truck – and that is most things – will go up and add to inflation. That’s going to hit families and businesses who are already struggling.

There should have been no debate – extend the transport support package to get New Zealanders through a tough time, until inflation starts to drop to below 6%. We know that inflation is likely to rise again in the first quarter of 2023. This was not the time to remove the support.

However, the industry acknowledges that the Government heeded the call to bring in the transport package. This discount helped keep the cost of transport down, meaning less costs were passed down to consumers. Sadly, people can expect all costs to go up starting early next year.

The trucking industry carries 93% of freight and has repeatedly warned that fuel prices will continue to be volatile for a long period to come. Geo-politics and war will still disrupt supply into the future.

We need a strong road transport sector and supply chain to help grow our economy out of recession and lower inflation. This week’s decision runs contrary to that.

Transporting New Zealand says the pressure on families will be too much as inflation is projected to rise again and remain high in 2023.

You can listen to me talking to Anna Thomas on RNZ here.

Better News

We are pleased to report to the industry that this week the Government announced that road transport would have its own sector agreement. This means that early in the new year Transporting New Zealand will be engaging with MBIE officials around writing rules for truck drivers to have a temporary residence pathway to New Zealand. Such an agreement will assist employers attract overseas drivers and hopefully go some of the way to easing our driver shortages.

We will have to agree and guarantee a wage level for this scheme to operate. We feel this is progress for road transport given the pressures around workforce shortage, however it does not dilute our focus from training the next generation of New Zealand drivers through our traineeship, Road to success.

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

Illustration 17930122 / Data © Carloscastilla |

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