New page, clean screen

In Newsletter Editorial4 MinutesBy Dave McCoidFebruary 23, 2024

A week ago today, just when we were in the swing of ‘thank goodness it’s Friday’ and beginning to harbour those ‘nothing much happens on a Friday’ thoughts, news broke and letters were circulated to media: one from John Baillie, chairman of National Road Carriers (NRC), and another from Rob Taylor, chairman of the New Zealand Trucking Association (NTA). Both were addressed to Warwick Wilshier, chairman of Ia Ara Aotearoa Transporting New Zealand (TNZ), and clearly signalled an end in the foreseeable future to any efforts on the part of NRC and NTA working as part of an industry tripartite.

Later in the afternoon came a predictable response from Wilshier at TNZ, voicing disbelief and disappointment.

If you want the nitty-gritty details of what was in the letters, they are all there in the news section on the website, and summarised in the Road Noise News section of the upcoming March 2024 issue of New Zealand Trucking magazine.

It’s been more than two years since TNZ formed from the disestablished RTF amidst discontent in a number of areas on the part of the member associations. Since then, there’s been plenty of time to test the waters of cooperation between autonomous associations on matters of industry importance, and at times that cooperation has been visible. There have also been moments where a closer alignment has again been discussed, albeit only at conceptual level it would appear from an outsider’s perspective.

I’ve got no opinion on much of the above, there’s old politics, agendas, formed – reformed – and renamed entities back to the origins of road transport. Time to tear a new page and start again and I commend the action of the NRC and NTA. If they reckon it wasn’t working for them and hindering their ability to progress, great! Tell everyone that, and get into it.

Competition is surely one of the guardians of progress, and as of now the heat is on both sides to demonstrate why the industry, the regulator, and ministry should take heed of them. As I said at TNZ’s formation and several times since on any number of subjects, whoever puts a huge sign in the atrium of their offices with their exact, explicit reason for being, a sign everyone can read every morning when they arrive, one that prompts every action undertaken throughout the day to impact that tenet positively, they will be the one who prevails.

The key for both sides is communication, because at the end of the day, that’s pretty much all the associations are – conduits. Primarily between the industry and those who govern and regulate it, then between the association and those who aren’t members, communicating how good they are at effecting positive change – resulting in the masses moving in their favour.

And to the naysayers, the apathetic, the sarcastic, and the association exhausted? I say to you – pick one, join, and get involved. Why? Firstly, politics is hard – that’s why you prefer the side line, the irony there being the weight of numbers in their camp actually help your cause immeasurably. Second, with the exception of three or four individuals who own gargantuan entities, if you independently turn up on the Beehive steps to voice your opinion on what needs to be done and how, you’ll likely not get much of an ear.

A fresh page presents itself; the windscreen is clean.

All the best

Dave McCoid
Editorial Director