Justin's Transport Minute

RUC should be left for building roads, not political capital

Confusion reigned this week for RUC purchasers, when a few short hours after the discount was removed at midnight on January 31, the new Prime Minister announced it would be re-introduced until June 30.

With inflation north of 7%, there is no doubt that New Zealanders are enduring a cost-of-living crisis.

The question for government is what lever to pull to genuinely help to provide relief to struggling kiwis? Many commentators from across the political spectrum this week have voiced their opposition to the flip flop on the fuel discount citing. National and Act are concerned about the inflationary impact that may fuel inflation resulting in further pressure on the cost of living, while the Green Party are upset about supporting more fossil fuel use.

But what I’d like to shine a light on is the unintended consequences and impact to road transport operators the flip flop has caused.

Our phones have run hot all week with calls from frustrated members who have put in place mechanisms to deal with the RUC discount removal, and worked with their customers to gain acceptance. Now they are having to turn on a dial, reformulate their position and go back to their customers to re-explain the impact. All of which takes time and resources.

Simply put this decision has driven administrative pain for the trucking industry at a time when it’s getting hammered from all angles. This u-turn from the government robs our members of time that they could be spending working on their business rather than in it . And with changes passed direct to customers, there’s no benefit for their business either way.

If common sense prevailed, a much simpler way would simply to be to extend the cost-of-living payment direct to eligible individuals and families. Those in need get the cost relief, and trucking firms are spared the administrative burden of re-arranging pricing and contracts.

RUC should be left for building roads, not political capital.


CEO | National Road Carriers Assn

DDI: +64 9 636 2951