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Source: Ia Ara Aotearoa Transporting New Zealand

Road freight peak body Ia Ara Aotearoa Transporting New Zealand has criticised the Government’s draft Government Policy Statement on land transport (GPS) for failing to adequately prioritise road network resilience. The GPS directs how money from the National Land Transport Fund is allocated towards achieving transport priorities.
Transporting New Zealand’s Interim Chief Executive Dom Kalasih says that the draft GPS will result in major tax hikes for road users, while failing to prepare the roading network for the future. The proposed increases in road user charges alone would add thousands of dollars to the cost of operating a truck and trailer each year, that trucking companies would be forced to pass on to consumers.
“At a time when New Zealanders are grappling with a cost of living crisis and a series of devastating weather events, the draft GPS completely misses the mark. The Government needs to be prioritising the fundamentals: a well maintained state highway network with strong regional connections that can transport people and freight safely and reliably.”
“Increasing road user charges for the trucking sector is not the pay forward “. The Ministry of Transport’s latest study on road pricing shows that compared to all other road users, trucks are by far paying most of their share. “It’s time other road users starting paying more of their share of the costs and the same goes for rail freight. It’s also time that investing the money that is collected needs to be focussed on benefiting those that are paying for it”.
Transporting New Zealand has consistently called for a road network resilience to be the overarching GPS priority, including substantial network improvements and maintenance. This year’s severe weather has highlighted the vulnerability of New Zealand’s regional connections, and the important of maintaining alternative routes.
“Another disappointing aspect is that this draft GPS is months late and it talks about a project being underway to look the future of revenue in the transport system. Funding is the absolute key and we really hoped we’d see much more advanced thinking in this regard.”
Kalasih is calling for the Government to reconsider its current approach. “GPS sets out transport priorities for the next ten years. This current draft isn’t going to prepare our transport system for the major challenges it will face over that time, particularly severe weather and an increasing freight task. We’ll be hammering that point home in our feedback to Government.”