Banning children from ''riding shotgun'' in their parents'
trucks has resulted in fewer young drivers entering the
industry, National Road Carriers executive officer Grant
The trucking industry had an ageing workforce and the
shortage of drivers would worsen when the Government removed
truck drivers from a skilled-worker shortage list later this
month, he said.
Health and safety regulations were the reason for children
being banned from the cabs of trucks.
''Twenty years ago, when I was driving trucks, it was no
problem taking your kid or your girlfriend for a ride in the
cab with you, but that has certainly changed now.''
Enforcement was so strict, he had heard of truck companies
removing the passenger seats from trucks.
The ban on children was a response to the wishes of
industrial sites, he said.
''They say no kids in the cab because there is machinery
working and you can't be supervising the loading of your
truck and supervising the child in your cab at the same
Dynes Transport owner Malcolm Payne, of Dunedin, said the
company's policy did not allow children in the cabs with any
of its drivers.
Mr Turner said the ban was disappointing because the best
truck drivers were those who had been in a truck as a child.
''It's like the agricultural sector. The best farmers are the
kids that have grown up on farms ... many of our best
[drivers] spent their formative years sitting in the
passenger seat, observing and learning.''
Many trucking businesses were built on family legacies.
''We need people to want to be part of what we do and a great
start is riding shotgun in your father's truck.''
Truck driving was on Immigration New Zealand's immediate
skill shortage list (ISSL) but was about to be removed. Mr
Turner said the industry relied on immigrant drivers and
needed to stay on the list to encourage experienced overseas
truck drivers to come to New Zealand and work.
Immigration Minister Michael Woodhouse said the truck drivers
had been on the ISSL for many years and the industry had time
to respond to the skill shortage through recruitment,
retention and training of New Zealand workers and
''The Government recognised that to remove the occupation
from the list immediately could have caused some adverse
impacts on the industry. As a result, the industry was given
a year's notice of the change and it will not take effect
until March 24.''
The list was not the only option for migrant truck drivers to
work in New Zealand.
''If the trucking industry can still not find drivers once
they come off the list, they will still be able to bring in
migrant drivers on work visas, so long as they've looked and
cannot find suitable New Zealanders available to take those
jobs,'' Mr Woodhouse said.