Govt manipulating freight sector – Road Transport Forum

In News4 MinutesBy NZ Trucking magazineJuly 5, 2021

The Government is manipulating the freight sector and removing choice from shipping companies, according to the Road Transport Forum.

In his latest blog post, RTF chief executive Nick Leggett said the Ministry of Transport’s Hīkina te Kohupara – Kia mauri ora ai te iwi Transport Emissions: Pathways to Net Zero by 2050 green paper is “possibly the greatest existential threat to our industry”.

“It suggests Government intervention in the supply chain to shift freight movement to their preferred modes – rail and coastal shipping – under the guise of a more efficient supply chain, leading to lower emissions,” he said.

“What this means is the Government manipulating the market and removing choice.”

Legget said the Government was in no position to dictate how and when individuals and businesses choose to move their freight and household goods.

“Government officials do not have the expertise to examine payload efficiencies, nor should they be interfering in normal market forces that will inherently drive efficiencies,” he said.

“We are an export-driven economy and cannot afford to have freight costs forced up by the Government to price us off the international market.”

Leggett also took aim at the plans of the Let’s Get Wellington Moving campaign.

“We are dealing with fundamentally flawed policy idealisms in the search for an unobtainable nirvana,” he said.

“The first step in reaching this nirvana would be to get the basic infrastructure right – roads, energy supply, and water. You only need to look at the number of groups and organisations that have been set up by Government to look at this to know infrastructure is a problem.”

Leggett explained, “We look at artist impressions of a Golden Mile without cars. Lambton Quay, presumably boosted by global warming to create the appropriate climate, has people sitting in cafes, cycling and walking – buses will be able to travel through but not cars or trucks.

“Last Friday, a sewage spill covered part of Lambton Quay and ran into a stormwater drain,” he said.

“It smelled bad and covered a footpath. How nice would it be to cycle and walk through that, or sit sipping your coffee al fresco? It was Covid Level 2 and not very nice weather, so there was no one much around that day.

“Next thing you know, there will be a spreadsheet where we are allocated times our households can use the toilet.”

Legget said a lot of the solutions being put forward to meet emissions reductions are “superficial window dressing and green washing”.

“There needs to be a reality check on the policy writers in both central and local government about just how their utopia is going to actually function and what it will cost ordinary people and businesses that drive the economy,” he said.

“We would suggest there is no point in decorating the house before you’ve finished building it. And if you don’t build it to last, all you get are costs and headaches.”