A Labour government would ban trucks from fast lanes on
the motorway and cut fees for light trailers, caravans and
motorhomes, leader David Cunliffe said this morning.
"Kiwis are sweating the small stuff too much" and Labour's
transport policies would make driving easier during public
holidays, Mr Cunliffe said.
"There's nothing Kiwis like more than getting on the road and
going on holiday. But on public holidays like Easter and
Anzac Weekend fun can quickly turn to frustration when the
family realises the rego for the caravan has expired or
there's a big truck hogging the fast lane," he said.
Under the transport proposals, trucks would not be able to
drive in the fast lane in three or four-lane motorways. The
move was designed to reduce congestion because trucks had a
lower speed limit of 90km/h.
Annual registration charges for light trailers and caravans -
around $35 - would be scrapped.
Labour's policy document said that the levy was "a money
grab" and it generated a "huge amount of hassle" for 600,000
trailer or caravan owners each year.
The party would also reduce road user charges for motorhomes
and caravans. The new cost would reflect a vehicle's actual
impact on the road instead of charging according to its
maximum allowable weight.
Labour deputy leader David Parker admitted that the policies
were small but said "little things were important too".
"You ask the 1.5 million people in Auckland and they will say
it annoys them that at times the fast lane is blocked by
trucks that are only meant to be doing 90km/h.
"And ... why should people pay a registration fee for a
trailer that's always attached to a car? We don't take ACC
levies in that situation."
Transport Minister Gerry Brownlee said that the policies were
"poorly thought through" and "a joke".
"Someone's having us on. It can't be real. It cannot be their
Government had already signalled that road user charges
needed to increase if the Roads of National Significance and
other projects were to be completed.
Mr Brownlee said: "All the money that comes off the roads
gets spent on the roads. So if he's not going to have that
money, we assume that he's actually cutting the $12 billion
programme that we're running at present."
Labour said its cut to road user charges would require
reprioritisation within the National Land Transport Fund
because it would reduce revenue by between $2 million and $5
million a year.
The cut in registration fees would reduce revenue by $17
million. Labour estimated that the change would save trailer
and caravan owners $21 million, "as well as countless hours
Asked about Labour's ban on trucks, Mr Brownlee said all
trucks on New Zealand roads had to display toll-free phone
numbers which motorists could call to make complaints.
- Isaac Davison of the New Zealand Herald