Rants, Raves, Reviews

I Smell a Conspiracy

By Gary R, in , posted: 3-Jul-2008 15:04

On the 1st of July the NZ government became the proud owner of the whole rail network - track, rolling stock, etc.

On the 3rd of July Transport Minister, Annette King, announced road user charge increases of between 7.5 to 15%

According to KiwiRail:

'KiwiRail is New Zealand's leading transport operator. We provide a cost-efficient linehaul service for the movement of bulk commodities or containerised freight.'

KiwiRail uses tracks not road so immediately they have an advantage over truckies because they do not pay road user charges

The government has paid over the odds for KiwiRail and must now pay even more to upgrade the rail corridor and rolling stock.

What is the best way to recover your investment?

Simple - monopolise the long haul, bulk freight market by making it significantly cheaper to use rail over road.

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Permalink to I Smell a Conspiracy | Add a comment (8 comments) | Main Index

Comment by lotech, on 3-Jul-2008 15:37

You forget - you own the railway too - it is 'ours' by definition of it being owned by the state.
Add to the fact that the road user charges have been expected to increase for the last few years to pay for improvements to roading (*ahem* Transmission Gully / Auckland) and to lower road & carbon usage. This is, if anything, a convienent supporting argument to why we need a working rail system in New Zealand.
Conspiracy Theory more than a conspiracy I think.

Comment by Bung, on 3-Jul-2008 16:02

The truckies that do virtually all of the damage to NZ roads should be gratefull that they are still subsidised by light cars.

Comment by hellonearthisman, on 3-Jul-2008 16:59

I think the railways buy backis a good mov for the Nation and for the enviroment.

Comment by James Sleman, on 3-Jul-2008 21:03

Perhaps I'd agree if the RUC was put up astronomically AFTER the planned work to the rail system. In it's present state I don't think it would be ready for an influx of RUC refugees.

Unfortunately, Labour does have a tendancy to not entirely think through the timing of such matters, they should have increased the RUC a couple of months ago and then nobody would draw such erroneous conclusions.

Comment by Regs, on 4-Jul-2008 01:53

the truckies arent so much complaining that there is a rise, more that there is an instant rise which can't be easily offset by raising prices as many are locked into fixed contracts.

several trucking firms are already operating with fixed price contracts which carry a variable fuel surcharge... I expect we will soon see a new variable ruc surcharge added when renegotiating

putting the above aside, lets take a look at some nasty numbers... diesel has gone from 0.72c per litre in 2003 to the current $1.86 per litre - an increase of 180%!  Unleaded Petrol had gone from $1.12 to $2.12 in the same period, an increase of only 89%.  Why has the price of diesel risen so dramatically?  Mainly because the petrol companies have been putting both petrol and diesel prices up by the same amount each time which results in a higer % rise in the diesel price.  Of course joe public usually just cares about petrol prices and doesnt realise that the diesel prices are probably going to end up affecting him more by the time everything thats carted by diesel goes up in price. And its not only trucks that use diesel either.... trains and fishing boats are also diesel powered  (and so are the big luxury launches that several ppl probably cant afford to run now :p).

Comment by TinyTim, on 4-Jul-2008 08:00

On the other hand, Annette King has also increased the maximum allowable weight of trucks to 50 tonnes, up from 44 tonnes, so they can deliver more for their money.

Comment by sbiddle, on 4-Jul-2008 09:05

At least freight companies can increase their prices. I face increased costs with petrol and can't do anything about it!

Comment by edge, on 4-Jul-2008 15:36

I think Regs summed the situation up fairly well. The truckies main beef appears to be that some warning was previously "promised" in dsicussions (along with an "apparent" agreement with the Minister that legislation would also include a means of stopping large forward purchases of RUC - taking away King's refrain of "but look what happened last time I gave them warning"!!)

@TinyTim - small point, but note that the increase to 50T is a six month trial for a select few firms at this stage, with no guarantees that it will come in across the board yet.

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