National Road Carriers Association held its 87th AGM on Friday which proved to be a fantastic celebration of the wins the organisation has achieved over the last 12 months. Well attended by members, commercial partners, and industry colleagues from NZ Trucking Association (NTA), the evening was as much about gaining insight into the next phase of the strategy as it was to connect with fellow members.
NRC’s single-minded focus on delivering on the issues that keeps its members up at night has this year has seen NRC go from strength to strength, consolidating industry relationships, partnering with NTA, building an increased media presence, and positive cross-industry collaboration resulting in the recent launch of the Sideloader Good Practice Guide.
“Our focus is on delivering real change by tackling the big challenges affecting the road transport sector. We want to arm operators with the skills and knowledge they need so we can shape positive outcomes and ensure a sustainable industry,” says NRC Chair John Baillie. “We are building trusted relationships with the Government and its agencies, but at the same time we reserve the right to disrupt the status quo for the betterment of the industry. Our mandate is to work to deliver improvements to members and the industry.”
As a critical enabler of the New Zealand economy, it is important NRC’s voice is not just heard, but listened to. NRC’s strategy to call for a 50-year roading infrastructure plan that is out of reach of politicians is the first step to achieving quality roads with the resilience needed for the future. Added to this an employment environment that allows the industry to attract and keep the skilled workforce it needs, in an environment that supports a realistic low emissions transition built from supply chain evidence, and already there are signs of success.
“Behind the scenes we have been laying the foundations for success. A great example of our work resulting in action is Immigration New Zealand’s announcement that for the first-time truck drivers (Class 4 and 5) will have a two-year work to residency pathway. NRC has lobbied for this for decades, so it is a hard-fought win, and one we need to replicate in other areas important to the industry,” adds Baillie.
CEO Justin Tighe-Umbers says, “Our strategy is simple, we need to invest in our organisation – growing our people, our capabilities, and our processes. That in turn allows us to grow the benefits we deliver to our members in terms of services and partner offerings. And we must invest in building our relationships, with government and industry, so NRC continues to provide expertise and leadership for the road transport industry.”
In addition to strong advocacy, NRC has a solid platform of service offerings for members, delivering tangible value and savings.
“We are partnered with leading fuel, insurance, financial services, telecommunications, tyre, and IT service providers. The discounts enjoyed by NRC members put them at the same purchasing power level as large corporates and enterprises, even if they are a one truck operator,” says CEO Justin Tighe-Umbers. “We are thrilled to be able to welcome One New Zealand on board as a preferred partner delivering reduced plan offers, discounts and a collaboration with SpaceX which will provide 100% mobile coverage across New Zealand from 2024 – so members will shortly be able to say goodbye to coverage black spots.
“In order to sharpen up our member offer we have bought our marketing expertise in house, with James Perrin and Abbie Mackay joining the team to continue growing awareness of NRC and the great services we provide. Their focus recently has been on delivering the Z Energy promotion to members while managing the One New Zealand launch and supporting Carters Tyres and Spartan Finance to grow their commercial partnership.”
This year NRC formalised its long-term relationship with NZ Trucking Association through a memorandum of understanding (MOU) which both organisations agree is working well and delivering results for members.
“NRC is not in discussions with any other industry association about becoming one organisation,” says Baillie. “We are seeking broad industry co-operation as we have undertaken with NTA, and we are committed to bringing unity to the sector through collaboration.
We need to be nimble – deliver great stuff today, while at the same time make sure our businesses are sustainable and maintain the trust and support of New Zealanders.”
Tighe-Umbers adds, “NRC is clear on our strategy, and we are executing it. Right now, this industry is facing the most critical set of challenges it has in the last 100 years. A collapsing road network, an acute driver shortage, and emissions reduction targets all at the same time require absolute focus from us. To be inwards focused, in our opinion, would do the industry a disservice when we so urgently need to tackle the big issues and shape positive outcomes for the industry.”