* a jadis post as DPF lost on the mountain for days and days. I could have posted earlier but to be honest I have a life of family, work, work, voluntary work, etc that means Kiwiblog got a lower priority
Well, it seems that David Cunliffe and Labour were so concerned about Kiwiblog’s hibernation that they felt the need to launch a nutty ‘waste of time’ policy.
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.
Cunliffe’s big speech today (the one where he is avoiding the House (despite multiple political angles he could run) and the speech that wasn’t even properly advised to media!) is titled ‘Leading and managing our economic future’ and this ‘Truck off’ policy” is his goldmine announcement to (his words) ‘leading and managing our economic future’.
OK, so here’s a few wee things for Mr Cunliffe to think about:
1. Trucks, yes those heavy ones, are very important to New Zealand’s economy. There’s an awful lot of them particularly in the Golden Triangle (Auckland-Hamilton-Tauranga) that move goods to port for export, that move goods from suppliers to customers, and that employ thousands of New Zealanders.
2. The road rule is already 90km maximum for heavy trucks (as Cunliffe says himself) and the Police can (and do) tell off truckies if they could use a different lane. The answer is not more legislation Mr Cunliffe. The answer is if someone is breaking a rule then Police it. Somehow I don’t think you’ll be asking the Police to up their focus on this area… or will you?
3. Sometimes truckies use the so-called fast lane because they have a turn coming up. At what point does Mr Cunliffe propose the lane ban takes place? 100m? 50m? Will he then take responsibility for any crashes that take place as trucks try to keep with the lane ban policy and wipe out a car or two in the process?
4. We need trucks to get our goods to retailers and customers and from suppliers. Manufacturing relies heavily on trucks. I thought you cared about manufacturing Mr Cunliffe. How about our primary production industries? They need trucks too? It seems you want to drive down the number of trucks on our roads. Does this mean the next big policy from Labour is a massive investment into rail. Hmmm… lots of New Zealand isn’t electrified so it’ll either be dirty diesels or millions and millions of investment in rail infrastructure and rolling stock too Who is paying for that, Mr Cunliffe?
5. Your policy only applies to three and four lane motorways. There’s quite a few of those in Auckland but very few in other parts of the country. You talk about:
“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.
Umm… Aucklanders generally get held up on one or two lane highways on their way to the Coromandel or the North for their Easter break. They are more likely to get held up by a caravan or a car and trailer (or boat) than they are a heavy truck. Most heavy trucks set off pretty early in the day (mine must be one of the few families that can be organised pre-8am) and there is significantly less heavy truck traffic on statutory holidays. Methinks your holiday quip out of the ‘feels about right’ file rather than the fact file. PS – the Herald doesn’t help your case by using a file photo of a two lane motorway. And, FFS, if we are keeping registration (to offset road use/damage) then surely Dad or Mum can create their own checklist of making sure it is done before the holiday rather than legislate away? I dare you to cut the fees altogether – the administrative churn is probably higher than the actual fee when you get below $35.
6. I hope you’ve checked and re-checked your figures. It’d be so embarrassing if you took another policy at face value and the costings or the reach or the unintended consequences weren’t considered.