Wednesday, July 02, 2008

RUC f'up

Now I am not opposing the increase in Road User Charges, as long as it is transparently justified by the cost allocation model used to determine what all road users should pay to recover what is paid in road maintenance and construction costs.

Remember also that with all fuel excise duty now fully dedicated to the National Land Transport Fund (something I would have thought Labour should be crowing about), it means that the proportion of road spending paid by diesel vehicles dropped below what was appropriate, so the increase is likely to be justified (i.e. a diesel car shouldn't pay more for road use through RUC than a petrol car through petrol tax, on average).

However to lie to Tony Friedlander, the long standing chief executive of the Road Transport Forum - the main trucking lobby group - about RUC, is outrageous. Tony is a smart guy, though he was once Minister of Works under the Muldoon administration. If Annette King has said, "Look Tony, we wont give you notice anymore", he wouldn't have liked it, but at least she wouldn't have gone back on her word. Furthermore her own press release is deceptive, as it almost implies that only vehicles up to 6 tonnes face the increase, by only referring to examples up to that weight and attaching a document about vehicles up to that weight.

Of course what this means is that operators wont buy RUC licences in advance to avoid the increase, as has been done successfully in the past (and if managed well does provide a sudden cashflow advantage that could be invested wisely).

So something that arguably is justified as an increase has become a political nightmare by deception and sleight of hand.

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