Road transport

Claire Trevett on the ClusterTruck

Claire Trevett’s column today explores Labour’s idiocy with their clustertruck policy.

Former Labour Finance Minister Michael Cullen’s 2006 prophecy of “jam tomorrow” will come to fruition today, although it may not quite be the kind of jam people were hoping for.

It will be a traffic jam.

Realising there are votes to be gained from angry holidaymakers stuck in traffic for hours, Labour took measures to try to harvest them this week by releasing a groundbreaking holidaymakers’ transport policy.

Labour has long been driven by a drive to reduce inequality. So it announced it would drop the need to register caravans and trailers and cut road user charges for motorhomes and campervans.

The coup de grace of the policy was the ban on trucks from using the right-hand lane on three or four lane motorways – an attempt to peg into the futile rage that swamps drivers whose aims are thwarted by said trucks.

As “Kiwi families” loaded up their surfboards and fishing rods, David Cunliffe’s Caravan of Love was here to help. “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.”

Cunliffe declared, “Kiwis are sweating the small stuff too much.”  Read more »

Another Cunliffe numbers botch up. Again

Gerry Brownlee listened with some incredulity when David Cunliffe was touting his new Labour Cluster Truck Transport Policy yesterday.

Transport Minister Gerry Brownlee says Ministry of Transport analysis of Labour’s new policy for taxing motorhomes shows many motorhome owners would actually be charged higher Road User Charges under a Labour government than they are presently, not lower, as Labour’s leader claimed this morning.

“This is frankly remarkable – I’m not sure if David Cunliffe is being tricky or if Labour is simply a shambles,” Mr Brownlee says.

“This morning David Cunliffe announced a Labour government would charge motorhome and campervan owners for the wear and tear their vehicles do to the roads based on their vehicles’ actual weights.

“But analysis by the Ministry of Transport shows that based on the difference between average and maximum weights for trucks versus motorhomes, the owners of many motorhomes would end up paying more for Road User Charges than they do today.

Well, Cunliffe lost all the Truckie votes yesterday, and you can add the Gypsy demographic to that as well.   Read more »

An email from a truckie

Yesterday we wrote about immigrant drivers and a commenter expressed his view about the responsibility of the industry.

I have received this email from an industry insider:

Dear Mr Whale Oil,

I believe that the government has made an error in removing truck drivers from the skill shortage list.

In this case I agree with what the Herald journalist has written, and I know that a mistake has been made with this decision.

It was interesting to read your piece, and the comments.

Without doubt there is a shortage of drivers in New Zealand, and in most of the developed world. This is because these people (drivers) have special skills, and we aren’t making them fast enough.

Ken Shirley said it takes years to make a Class 5 driver, and one of your commenters said that it takes a much shorter time. Please understand that this is not about getting a licence. Any half-arsed dickhead can get a licence. I am talking about being a driver of a unit weighing 40 tonnes, driving head on towards you, and worth $500,000. Not anyone can drive one of those. Not anyone can get ability to drive a heavy vehicle in a short time. The guys we train take about 3 years to get to that level.  Read more »

Another sign of a healthy economy

1210-march-vw-amarok

New vehicle purchases are their highest since 1994.

Commercial vehicle purchases are up 20%, which is more tangible evidence of improved business confidence and expansion.

New Zealand continues to perform at levels not seen in decades: March 2014 is the best since 1994 at 11,238 registrations, up 18% year-on-year and bringing the First Quarter total to 30,824 units, up 15% on 2013. Commercial vehicles are up 20% in March and 19% year-to-date. In the brands ranking, Toyota (16%), Ford (10.7%) and Holden (8.5%) reign supreme as usual, but Mitsubishi is catching up, up 3 spots on February to #4 and 7.8% share, passing Hyundai, Mazda and Nissan.

In terms of proper blokes vehicles…utes…Ford has knocked Toyota off their perch.  Read more »

Darien Fenton questions the honesty of the road transport industry

Darien Fenton has probably done more to upset the transport industry in her miniscule time as transport spokehead than any other opposition union spokesman.

Her interest is based solely around Union experiences in Australia, where conditions are very different.

Labour’s transport spokesperson has called for a review of truck driver work arrangements – suggesting accidents are linked to contracting arrangements.

Darien Fenton says that after a number of fatal accidents involving trucks in the last month, the Government should not be ignoring the Opposition’s calls for a review of the trade.

“We know that truck drivers are allowed to work up to 13 hours a day, but many work much longer than that because the pay isn’t up to scratch and they need to make a living,” says Fenton.

“We also know that pressures are often put on drivers to breach time and speeding rules, yet the number of chain of responsibility prosecutions – where those who make the demands on drivers to break those rules are held accountable – are falling.

“While there are many good trucking firms in New Zealand which take care of their drivers and train and pay them properly, there are some who don’t and they are the killers on our roads,” she added.  Read more »

And the road maggots wonder why they get run over

Auckland Transport conducted a survey of key intersections to ascertain who the worst red light runners were…and guess what…it’s road maggots.

The Herald in a series pushing the ‘rights’ of 2% of road users have released the details.

Cyclists accounted for 60 per cent of red-light runners surveyed at four Auckland intersections, the city’s transport authority has revealed.

Car drivers were responsible for 37 per cent of 360 red-light breaches observed by Auckland Transport, and buses, trucks and one motorcycle made up the balance.

Right, so those evil truck drivers, generally don;t run red lights…hmmm…while cyclists do…a lot. No wonder they get run over.

Those statistics still don’t stop the road maggot advocates pushing their agenda.

Cycle Action chairwoman Barbara Cuthbert said cars running lights exceeded cyclists at the K-Rd intersection.

She referred to a presentation by a senior Auckland Transport official which won an accolade at an engineering conference, noting many instances of red-light running by cyclists were left-hand turns or motivated by riders wanting to get a head-start on other vehicles for safety reasons.  Read more »

The Sunday Essay: The complete and utter uselessness of intensification

Map-D.1-Development-Strategy-Auckland-Wide-120405_without-TitleA guest post from Phil Hayward.

Auckland Voters have a lot more re-thinking to do than they realise so far.

“New media” has a valuable role to play in informing the public not just of politicians personal scandals that the MSM might not have covered, but of important policy issues on which the MSM are misinforming the public.

It is extraordinary that in Auckland, a Unitary Plan has passed the “notification” stage (in September 2013) while afflicted with so many obvious flaws, and with bureaucratic input so obviously incompetent and ideologically-based.

The essence of the Plan that the voting public has now granted a mandate to by electing Len Brown, is that Auckland needs to grow by intensification and become a high density city based on “sustainable public transport”. Alternative visions such as that of Dushko Bogunovich, Professor of urban design, and his colleagues at Unitec, of a low, dispersed and leafy Green eco-friendly and high-tech Auckland, are off the table for now.

As with CAGW, one wonders just how many scandals and exposures are needed before people will question the orthodoxy. Auckland Councillors passed the Unitary Plan for notification, in spite of the following realities.

In October 2011, Tony Randle, a well-qualified concerned citizen, published a “Review” of the CBD Rail Link Business Case “Alternatives Option”. He showed convincingly that the busway option was the superior one, and that the study’s conclusions in favour of the Rail Link were patently wrong. The busway option was inflated in cost by considering only a very high capacity system, significantly greater than that of the proposed Rail Link. If this capacity was indeed necessary, the Rail Link itself would be inadequate. Whether inadequate or not, it would need to be supplemented by buses, the cost of which was omitted from the “Rail Link” option.

As if this was not sufficient cause for concern, international evidence as analysed by experts such as Prof. Bent Flyvbjerg of Oxford University suggests that such projects all without exception suffer from optimistic ridership projections and cost estimates. In fact he suggests “optimism bias” and “strategic misinformation” as endemic features needing to be identified and corrected for. Auckland already has fiscal pressures enough without adding the ongoing very substantial cost of operating subsidies for mass transit systems operating at well below capacity, on top of the capital costs needed to acquire very high value land, with major blowouts likely due to land owners “holding out”, and then of course the actual construction of the thing.  Read more »

Cyclist runs red light, dies under a truck, lycra force field failed

How about we need cyclists to follow the road rules?

Yesterday a cyclist found out that his lycra force field isn’t much protection at all from close interaction with a truck.

Police are investigating how and why the collision occurred, but revealed last night the truckie had the green light at the intersection.

“When I looked back I saw this [man] flying off [his] bike and at the same time the truck just kept on rolling over [him],” said Mr Maamaloa.

It was only when other motorists alerted the truck driver by tooting their horns that he stopped about 70m down the road. …

Police said it appeared the cyclist had been riding down Parnell Rise and was turning left into Stanley St when he collided with the truck, which was travelling straight through from The Strand.

Inspector Cornelius Klussein said the truck driver, who had the green light, did not know the cyclist had come under his wheels until being alerted by other motorists tooting their horns.

“He assumed that maybe something had come off the truck so he parked up to see what was going on. It was only when he got out that he saw that something had happened.”  Read more »

Narrower streets a better way?

Policy Parrot says:

With interest this Parrot reads about the New York town of Hamburg that was revived through narrowing of streets.

Retail boomed and it became apparent that earlier plans to widen the Main Street for vehicle safety and flow were quite stupid.

In Auckland there is a subtle battle between the North Korean Gestapo – Auckland Transport – and Urban Design.

Normally this Parrot likes neither group. One is impossibly difficult and corrupt (AT) and the other is utopian and has no foothold in reality.

But this Parrot does agree with certain urban design principles. One is narrow streets.

Narrow streets create character. In Auckland people prefer the narrow intimate character of High Street than the Boulevard next door – Queen Street which to be blunt – feels like a canyon of emptiness and devoid of soul.  Read more »

The story behind the picture

A picture tells a story worth a 1000 words right? Well, sometimes…take this image from the NZ Herald:

image001-1

Stuff reports it like this:

A heavy container truck has rolled, spilling petrol over the road and causing traffic chaos in Auckland.

Inspector Steve Kose, of police northern communications, said the truck collided with a parked car about 12.30pm in The Strand, Parnell.   Read more »