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 »

Cunliffe’s daft truck policy

Cunliffe’s getting monstered on talkback for his nutty truck ban…

Trucks can only do 90K by law – so the chances of them being in a fast lane should be small – except if the cars in the other lanes are doing less than 90k. If that’s the case – Cunliffe is saying they’re not allowed to pass the slower traffic.

Just more stupid policy invented on the hoof (or to cover his no show on Campbell Live/Parliament)…

Minister of Transport Gerry Brownlee has called proposals to ban trucks from the fast lane on motorways a joke.

“I think someone’s having us on. It can’t be real,” Mr Brownlee told media this morning.

Labour Leader David Cunliffe made the announcement on TVNZ’s Breakfast this morning saying his party would bring in a motoring policy banning trucks from the right lanes of multi-carriageway roads.

AA’s senior policy analyst Mark Stockdale says the proposal is “a red herring”   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 »

Trucking firms putting us all in danger to save a buck

Simon Collins appears to take some time off from Pimping the Poor by bringing you a story how the government is killing the transport industry.  But as per usual, Simon only tells what he wants you to know:

Trucking companies say they are being forced to import drivers from overseas because of a desperate shortage of Kiwis.

A survey by the Road Transport Forum has found 112 companies have trucks parked up because of a shortage of about 400 drivers. The total shortage is likely to be much higher because only 230 of the forum’s 4000 members responded.

Forum chief Ken Shirley said it took at least three years for a local driver to progress from a basic car licence to a class 5 licence for heavy trucks with trailers, and companies were filling the gap with immigrants.

“Fifteen per cent of drivers in some fleets are foreign migrant workers.”

But the Government removed class 5 drivers from the skill shortage list for permanent residence last month in what Mr Shirley described as “a serious strategic error”.

“I think the message from the Government is that they want us to target the unemployed.”

Another government hit piece from Simon.  You get to expect them.

Here is the other side to the story, as reported by Whaleoil Ground Crew member rantykiwi   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 »

Has Len Brown been moonlighting in Wanganui?


Photo/ via tipline

We all know that some truckies are wankers, but I don’t know of any wage paid drivers who have enough time to jerk off as a “group” activity which would warrant such an approach. Owner drivers would not be subject to seat inspections.

Now if Len Brown has been moonlighting as a truck driver in Wanganui I can easily imagine this being an issue, and it only takes him two minutes so easily accomplished on driver rest breaks.  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:


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 »

Photo of the Day

It started innocently enough: a one-off Facebook post about a pile of ship. Then, Huckberry reader Andy Mowrey noted that the ship carrying all of those ships was recently carried by another ship. Pandora’s Box (aka The Google) was opened, revealing a whole host of incestuous relationships between planes, trains, and automobiles. Herewith, a post cataloguing a few of our favorite finds.



The luckiest truck driver in Russia.


Guest Post – A truckies life is a tough one

Our fuel prices are beyond our control. The Greens hate us because they want everyone to eat home grown mung beans and live in shelters made of fern fronds. Cyclists hate us because they reckon that all of the money we pay in Road User Charges should be funneled into cycle ways so that they both have lots of room. Public transport advocates reckon all of the money should be spent on trains with a little bit on buses, and every motorist has a bad storey to tell about a truck in their lives somewhere.

But we are used to carrying the country, and we understand that some people who don’t like us. Not an easy task for sensitive and caring people, as we truckies are.

The reality of our lives gets a bit stretched though when we find government people who simply fail to listen, and then when they do listen they don’t understand. And when they listen and understand they can’t be bothered doing anything.

The Road User Charges (RUC) changes recently are a great case study of selective deafness.

Why would anybody want to increase Road User Charges by 84% on a sector of the economy which is responsible for our world trade?

In the recent review process, which us truckies contributed to, a number of things happened which we, as an industry didn’t like. In the democratic process however we were able to have our say, and no one can argue with that.

Some of the decisions were dumb. Like producing fixed vehicle combinations which limit flexibility for interchanging vehicles. Like charging one category of vehicle less when it does more road damage just because it is a bus (but that is the kind of muddled thinking that occurs when closet greens inhabit the Ministry). Like simplifying the number of vehicle classes by adding 28 more. Like having bureaucrats used to driving a desk in Wellington in charge of vehicle engineering and design. Like encouraging vehicles to carry more weight through misunderstanding the implications of the changes made to vehicle categories.

The bit that really bites us though is the 84% increase in Road User Charges for trucks carrying containers. This equates to a 15% increase in cartage rates.

Then to discover that this huge increase is because some incorrect data was supplied to the MOT is appalling. To find that the MOT has done nothing about correcting the error is almost scandalous.

They are prepared to charge importers and exporters up to $60 more per container just because they don’t know how to correct an error which they acknowledge has been made by someone giving them incorrect information.

We agree that we need to pay our share of road usage. We are happy to argue our case with the other parties who get up on the bandwagon to bash us around. But it is bloody hard to deal with people who know that they need to correct a cock up, but can’t be bothered doing it.

Without trucks, the economy stops.