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Nationwide Response To Trucking Protest

Contributor:
Fuseworks Media
Fuseworks Media

3 July 2008 - Truck protests will be held in 13 towns and cities throughout New Zealand tomorrow morning. Whangarei, Hamilton, Tauranga, Rotorua, Palmerston North, New Plymouth, Nelson, Gore and Invercargill operators are joining their counterparts in Auckland, Wellington, Christchurch and Dunedin to demonstrate their anger at the way the Road User Charges increase was brought in, says Road Transport Forum Chief Executive Officer Tony Friedlander.

"This is an overwhelming response which clearly shows the Government that road transport operators have had enough," Mr Friedlander says. "We hope the Government will recognise how strongly our members and the industry generally feel about this issue. We have been pressing for some time for a complete review of the way heavy trucks are charged for their road use. This is an opportunity to look at a constructive way forward.

"This year $847 million has been budgeted by Government for maintenance and upgrading of state highways and local roads. Treasury estimated it will collect $867 million in Road User Charges this year, before these latest increases.

"The Forum calculated that heavy trucks will contribute around $630 million of these Road User Charges, again before the increase came in. That's 75% of the total maintenance and upgrade budget being paid by less than 3% of the vehicles on the road. Trucks are already meeting their fair share of roading costs. But we are not suggesting trucks should pay any less, we just believe there are fairer and more efficient ways to collect their contribution."

Mr Friedlander says strict guidelines have been given to all the Forum members taking part in the protest. "We are a responsible industry and I am sure our members will reflect this during the protest tomorrow. We have also been working closely with Police and local roading authorities in each of the centres which are holding a protest."

"We regret the inconvenience our protests will cause to commuters and other road users, but our members are convinced they have to take direct action."

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