Keep road user charges simple, says Transporting New Zealand
Using road user charges (RUCs) to raise more money for the government’s climate change program is the wrong tree, says Nick Leggett, chief executive of Ia Ara Aotearoa Transporting New Zealand .
“In our brief on the RUC review, undertaken by the Department for Transport, we strongly oppose the idea of adding costs to a simple user-pay system to cut the ticket on unrelated externalities at will. government,” Leggett said.
“Especially when it’s not clear where the additional funds obtained would go, other than into this big bucket called ‘climate change’ – transparency and accountability seem to be absent.
“The beauty of many New Zealand taxes is their simplicity. The RUC works well because vehicle drivers pay for the road they use and vehicles that create more pavement wear pay accordingly.
“Transporting New Zealand supports the principle that funds paid by road users through the RUC, fuel excise duty and vehicle registration fees should be used primarily to pay for construction and maintenance of roads and Police Commercial Vehicle Safety Team (CVST) app.
“The clarity of the RUC system has been its strength, and although it is not perfect, it offers a level of transparency and rigor which has many benefits. Any dilution or reduction in its integrity will be detrimental to successful development of policies.
“There are already other taxes and levies in place for road transport externalities. For example, there is the Emissions Trading Scheme (ETS) to manage greenhouse gases, and the ACC levy to road traffic injuries.
“The use of the RUC system to recover the costs of externalities risks collecting revenue in excess of what is due, and it follows that a misallocation of resources will result.
“The poor distribution of RUC revenue will ultimately result in less money being spent on roads at a time when we can least afford it.
“Disappointingly, on reading the discussion paper on the review, this appears to be an attempt by the government to find unfair financial leverage to support its climate change agenda, a position Transporting New Zealand strongly opposes. “, said Leggett.
You can read Transporting New Zealand’s submission here.
About Ia Ara Aotearoa Transporting New Zealand
Ia Ara Aotearoa Transporting New Zealand (Transporting New Zealand) provides a unified national representation for the trucking industry, i.e. approximately 1,200 individual road freight companies, which operate approximately 14,000 heavy-duty trucks delivering for New Zealand.
The road freight industry employs 32,868 people (2.0% of the workforce), has annual gross sales of $6 billion, and transports 93% of total tonnes of freight transported in New Zealand.
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