Hard Road

In Newsletter Editorial5 MinutesBy Gavin MyersApril 14, 2023

Ever feel as if what you say falls on deaf ears? That’s sometimes how it is in this line. In road transport, there’s no shortage of commentators, campaigners, committees and associations who write, speak, campaign and advocate for the betterment of the industry and the workplace of its people – the road.

High-quality, well-maintained roads are not only imperative for the health and safety of those in the road transport industry, but also a public-safety issue. But, hey, it’s not like we haven’t waded through this pothole of despair before. We can all bang on about it as much as we like – and we absolutely must – but when push comes to shovel, we don’t have the final word on what gets done, when, and to what standard.

Wouldn’t it be good to be able to get stuck in and do it yourself sometimes? You know, everyone responsible for their own backyard…

Sir Rod Stewart certainly thinks so. On stage in Auckland this Easter Weekend, he broached the subject of New Zealand’s wonky pavements and potholes needing filling. Well, that’s embarrassing… It’s not a subject the virtuoso is unfamiliar with, though. About a year ago, he made headlines for getting hands-on, filling potholes on a particularly poor road near his Essex home with a group of friends – hi-vis and all.

Let’s think about that… a nearly 80-year-old global music superstar with a net worth in the hundreds of millions of dollars who’s not above shovelling a bit of dirt because those who were supposed to get it done hadn’t – not for show or publicity, but out of a genuine need to fix a neglected piece of local road. Talk about setting an example.

OK, I realise it is all a bit more complicated than that; processes and procedures need to be followed. Public infrastructure work needs to be done to a certain standard, ideally by those qualified to do it with the right tools. New Zealand’s recently been battered by severe weather which has exacerbated the problem… and so on, and so forth.

But the underlying point – as we’ve said before – is that the work just needs to be done. Heck, if those in charge won’t listen to the commentators, campaigners, committees and associations, maybe they’ll listen to Rod the Mod.

On another note, I’d like to congratulate the team behind Wheels at Wanaka 2023 on yet another outstanding show. Three Parks Wanaka was humming this Easter Weekend, with a reported 3000 vehicles and more than 40,000 visitors consuming the 60-acre showground.

The growth of this event is outstanding, and it’s easy to see why ­– it’s a moving, motoring extravaganza that offers something to everyone, even those with just the mildest interest in wheels (or tracks) and engines.

You must admire the fact that kids born in the past decade can attend a show in 2023 and witness – even ride on – a steaming, moving traction engine that their great-grandparents would’ve stopped and stared at 120 years ago.

As usual, the earthmoving machinery put on an outstanding show at the Terra Cat Earthmoving Extravaganza, and the Claas HC tractor and truck pull had audiences entertained all weekend long.

On our own front, it was gratifying to see every inch of the Southpac Truck Show area full. The Mack and Kenworth brands were well represented since both were celebrating local and international milestones.

Look out for a full show report in the May 2023 New Zealand Trucking magazine and a comprehensive online gallery on the New Zealand Trucking website in the coming weeks.

Take care out there,

Gavin Myers