ED SPEAK

Motor Equipment News - - CONTENTS -

The NZTA has an­nounced that it’s go­ing to de­lay im­ple­men­ta­tion of new charges to col­lect Road User Charges, but the charges them­selves start on July 1, as orig­i­nally planned, en­sur­ing there is no loss of (new) rev­enue (see Diesel In­dus­try News, page 39).

For those who pay Road User Charges for op­er­at­ing diesel ve­hi­cles – and let’s face it, this means just about ev­ery­body ei­ther di­rectly or in­di­rectly, for the cost of these charges has to be re­cov­ered by the trans­port oper­a­tors who deliver just about ev­ery­thing we con­sume, from our food through to the ma­chin­ery and tools used in your businesses – this is prob­a­bly a good thing, as the new ad­min fees are higher than be­fore, even if you “do-it-yourself” by pay­ing on­line.

This de­ci­sion to in­crease the ad­min charges, which, by the way, has still to be rat­i­fied by the Cab­i­net, is in­vid­i­ous, and just high­lights that once more the trans­port sec­tor is be­ing used as the “milk cow” to prop up other govern­ment spend­ing, while at the same time our roads con­tinue to de­te­ri­o­rate.

The whole Road User Charges thing is stupid, and in­creas­ing the ad­min­is­tra­tion charges just shows what a di­nosaur it has be­come.

Yes, I know roads have to be re­paired, and we all know that heavy trucks do far more dam­age than light ve­hi­cles. I once heard a fig­ure of 40,000 cars for ev­ery heavy truck, but I don’t know how ac­cu­rate this is.

But it’s not just our prob­lem, it’s a global one, and most of the rest of the world uses a sim­ple for­mula – pay at the pump. That way, the more diesel you use, the more you pay. As a re­sult, those ve­hi­cles which are light and fuel-ef­fi­cient, such as mod­ern diesel cars and SUVs, will pay less than heavy trucks which use a lot more fuel.

And the pay­ment will take place on a ra­tio which is more-or-less de­ter­mined by the dis­tance they drive, just as Road User Charges are. Of course, it’s a very sim­ple tax (for that’s what it is, what­ever fancy name you call it) to ad­min­is­ter.

At the same time there’ll be no need for ar­mies of uni­formed traf­fic war­dens and cops to check you’ve got the right RUC sticker on your ve­hi­cle, and no fines to pay!

John

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