ROAD NOISE NEWS – Future focus to RTF annual conference

5 MinutesBy NZ Trucking magazineJune 28, 2016

This year‘s Road Transport Forum annual conference will explore the future of our industry through the dual themes of innovation and change, and provide delegates with the opportunity to hear from the experts, innovators and regulators of this changing world. 

Incredible advances in electric and hybrid vehicles and driverless technology systems are creating big waves in Europe and the United States that are now beginning to wash up on our shores. 

Recently the government announced the exemption of electric heavy vehicles from road user charges, which presents a significant incentive for transport operators to transfer to this technology once the expertise and their investment capacity allows. 

It is appropriate then that we welcome to this year‘s conference one of the world‘s leading experts in the development of new vehicle technologies, New Zealand-born Ian Wright, founder of Wrightspeed and co-founder of Tesla. 

California-based Wrightspeed manufactures range-extended electric vehicle powertrains, which are already successfully used in waste management and delivery vehicles in the United States. 

The timing of Ian‘s visit couldn‘t be better, with energy, transport and infrastructure business Infratil recently announcing a $43 million deal with Wrightspeed to supply its electric powertrain – the RouteTM 500 – for Infratil‘s public transport business, NZ Bus. 

Ian will provide conference delegates with his insight into the expanding world of electric and hybrid power units, how they are used now, how the technology is constantly evolving, and where he sees it going. It will also present a chance for transport operators to ascertain the suitability of Wrightspeed‘s technology and similar hybrid and electric systems for their own fleets as they look to the future.

As well as new technologies, the conference will address a number of other issues currently affecting our industry. 

Speakers include leading economist Bernard Hickey, Minister of Transport Simon Bridges, and industry legal expert Ed Cox. 

There will also be the opportunity for association members to have their say through sector meetings and an industry forum. 

Supporting the formal aspects of the conference will be three very special events; the conference breakfast with comic Urzila Carlson, the awards dinner hosted by Jeremy Corbett, and the 2016 New Zealand Truck Driving Championships. 

These events will be real highlights of the conference and are definitely not to be missed.

An exciting partner‘s programme is also being offered, including a farm-to-table food tour and a visit to the Hobbiton film set. A number of interesting site visits, including to New Zealand‘s largest container port, the Port of Tauranga, have also been arranged. 
So, make a note of it in your diaries – Road Transport Forum annual conference, 27-28 October, Baypark, Tauranga. 

Please visit the conference website ( for programme details, sponsorship opportunities and registration. 
ARGUABLY ONE OF the most important initiatives the forum currently has underway is the Rollover Prevention Safer Journeys Programme. This is a joint initiative with NZTA and is being run with the help of our member associations. 
The recent spate of truck rollovers in Northland has further reinforced its timeliness. 

We know that on average a truck rolls over every two to three days on New Zealand‘s difficult roads. The goal of the Rollover Prevention Programme is to reduce these occurrences and ensure that every truck driver in New Zealand returns home safely after work. 
The forum is determined to do everything we can to provide drivers with the best information available on the range of factors affecting heavy vehicle stability and handling performance. 

We are extremely grateful to NZTA‘s Jeff Fleury for running these outstanding seminars. Jeff is a highly regarded vehicle safety specialist with over 40 years of experience who has seen firsthand the damaging effect of road trauma and death and the impact it has on family and loved ones. 

So far 28 seminars have been set up through member associations and operators around the country and interest from the industry is likely to expand the series even further.

For more information please visit

by Ken Shirley,
Chief Executive Officer