RTF calls out the government on transport decarbonisation

In News, August 20213 MinutesBy NZ Trucking magazineSeptember 13, 2021

The Road Transport Forum says the government needs to “get real” on transport decarbonisation.

RTF chief executive Nick Leggett said the government needed a more apparent position on transport decarbonisation and had to be more realistic about the societal impacts while reducing emissions.

Leggett said the RTF recognised the work done by the Ministry of Transport, Te Manatu Waka on Hikina te Kohupara – Kia mauri ora ai te iwi Transport Emissions: Pathways to Net Zero by 2050. But, in its submission, it said the government’s approach was “confusing, creates uncertainty in the freight sector, and will increase transport costs, which it should be honest about”.

“On one hand, government tells us the market should respond to the immediate supply-chain issues caused, in part, by its long-term border closure,” Leggett said.

“On the other hand, in this paper, we see suggestions of government interventions in the supply chain that we can only describe as draconian.”

Leggett said the government was “in no position” to dictate how and when businesses and individuals chose 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.

The RTF said the government’s approach to encouraging and supporting transport innovation that supported emissions reductions lacked tangible action and created an environment of uncertainty in the sector.

“We believe the government should refocus its efforts and provide support to industry- wide and sector-led initiatives, rather than its tendency to develop its own ideas or support niche products,” Leggett said.

“New Zealand is largely a technology-taker, and the vast majority of expertise on the feasibility and viability of transport innovation lies within the market and transport sector leadership groups, not with the government.”

Leggett said government interventions to “advantage one transport mode over another” would create additional costs and lower overall economic prosperity.

“There are a number of approaches that could be implemented in the short term to reduce emissions. “The industry has suggested these in numerous discussion papers, and we are getting increasingly frustrated that, rather than get after some tangible returns, the government appears to continue with some fundamentally flawed policy idealisms and search for an unobtainable nirvana.”