Thursday, July 03, 2008

Truck protest

The symbolism of the truck protest is so very important - it's important because it demonstrates three things.

1. A sector that has been much maligned by this government (after all the buyback of rail is about heavily subsidising that mode to take business off of the trucking industry, with subsidies for coastal shipping about doing the same - REGARDLESS of the evidence that the government's own study demonstrates), has had enough. Labour is no friend of road freight, truck operators know this, and there are more of them than there are unionised railway workers or waterfront workers. Labour is not interested in a level playing field between road and rail, it wants to save rail because of a belief, not because of evidence. Trucking is a highly competitive industry with small margins, Labour has reduced those again without appearing to give a damn.

2. Labour broke a promise. Not one that can be obfuscated or ignored. Annette King said one thing and did another. So not only has it acted in a way that would be unpopular anyway, it has treated the road freight sector as if it doesn't even deserve the respect of openness. I have met Tony Friedlander a few times, he is a very upfront guy who likes to be informed and aware of what is going on, to avoid this sort of thing. It was always made clear that dialogue and frankness would result in at least a sense of mutual respect - Annette King has squandered this and paid the price.

3. The constant increases in transport spending have finally hit the level of tolerance. You see most of you lot swallow fuel tax increases and do nothing about it - you voted for the government to be re-elected twice. You swallow increases in rates for public transport too. Truckies make a living out of this sector. The increase in RUC has been justified because it would keep the parity between petrol tax and RUC for different types of vehicles - so because YOU accept fuel tax increases, RUC goes up as well.

So while you may cheer the truckies for putting the boot into government, ask yourself this...

Do you support a major upgrade in Auckland's rail system?
Do you support a major upgrade in Wellington's rail system?
Do you support finishing Auckland's Western ring route through Waterview with an underground tunnel?
Do you support building Transmission Gully?
Do you support building new southern and northern motorways approaching Christchurch?
Do you support putting Victoria Park viaduct in two tunnels rather than just widening it?

Just a sample, but you see the longer that list is, the more money is needed - and while you're willing to pay more fuel tax for this - the truckies aren't. So are you surprised?


Craig said...

I 'love' this socialist trick.

In the past, petrol prices were lower and therefore so were petrol taxes.

Petrol prices go up dramatically.

Petrol taxes are not reduced, increasing government revenue.

The Govt says RUCs are unfair (compared to the inflated petrol tax take) so raise RUCs.

A nice magicians trick to justify raising taxes. Unless the cost of maintaining roads has a linear relationship with the price of petrol (seems unlikely) this is simply a tax rise to an important sector which will leave everyone hurting.

And National doesn't say they will reverse it... So much for them being a better way.

Libertyscott said...

Craig, actually petrol taxes are not linked to petrol prices. They are nominal values not percentages, so the rise in petrol prices has not seen a rise in petrol tax revenue - quite the opposite, as the decline in consumption has hit revenue.

Craig said...

I stand corrected!

How does the increase in GST factor in?