An Auckland-based fragile freight and furniture moving business behind a website to promote industry debate about a move to gross weights, says it believes there will be an industry backlash if the change goes ahead.
A One Movers manager, Tony Milham, says his company will be stung badly by the move, which goes against the user pays principles of road user charges (RUC) and will likely worsen road damage, congestion and safety.
He has made a submission opposing these provisions in the Bill.
The change is contained in the Road User Charges Bill being considered by Parliament’s Transport and Industrial Relations Select Committee. It proposes moving from nominated weights to gross weights (along with distance) as the basis for paying RUC.
Mr Milham says he senses disquiet in the industry and says the government risks a backlash akin to that which hurt the former Labour government when it raised RUC charges.
He said that submissions on the Bill generally opposed the change. Feedback on the website he has established www.gwwtf.org.nz showed the industry was wary of the move. The website includes a calculator to help truckies work out what they may pay under a gross weights regime compared to what they pay now.
“I can’t understand why an otherwise progressive Bill seeks to take us backwards,” he says.
Mr Milham says the worst feature of the proposed change is a lack of consultation and its undemocratic foundation.
“How can the government pass a law to strike a tax without telling us what that tax will be? Parliament should not let this happen,” he says.
“This is one of the biggest tax changes in New Zealand in recent times and you can’t even tell for sure what you’ll pay under the new system,”he said.
‘The industry hasn’t been consulted on a move that will put some trucking firms and some owner operators out of business.’
‘The industry needs to wake up,’ he said, “or we’ll discover we’re stuck with a bad system when the present one is just fine.’