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Govt Turns Down Key Road User Charges Review Recommendation

Fuseworks Media
Fuseworks Media
Steven Joyce
Steven Joyce

Wellington, May 6 NZPA - The Government is unlikely to implement a key recommendation from a review of road user charges that would replace the current licensing fee with a road network access charge, Transport Minister Steven Joyce said today.

The previous government set up the review and Mr Joyce released its report today.

He said some of its 32 recommendations needed more work, including those around delineation between road-related costs and non road-related costs.

"Other recommendations -- like the proposed road network access fee which would replace the annual licence fee for all vehicles -- are simply not tenable and are unlikely to proceed," he said.

Mr Joyce said the proposed charge would treble the cost of licensing vehicles over time, with some off-set in user charges and petrol tax.

It would be an unfair imposition on people who did not drive very far each year.

He said he agreed in principle with a recommendation that six weeks' notice should be given for any future increase in road user charges.

A sudden increase in heavy vehicle fees last year caused an outcry and protests from the trucking industry/

"Overall, the report covers a complex area of the transport system and the recommendations of the review would significantly change the way costs are allocated between heavy and light vehicles," Mr Joyce said.

"I've asked officials for further advice on the workability of the recommendations and expect to receive this by June."

Mr Joyce said any significant changes would have to go through the cabinet and legislative process which meant they were some way off.

The Road Transport Forum said it was pleased with the review's recommendations and the conclusion that user charges needed an overhaul.

"The present heavy vehicle charging system is one reason why New Zealand trucking companies have to charge 30 percent more than the rates which apply in Australia for carting the same goods on similar sized trucks," said forum chief executive Tony Friedlander.

"With this in mind we look forward to working with the Minister of Transport and his officials to solve the issues the review group has highlighted."

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