The CBT considers that the proposal to introduce bigger and heavier trucks onto New Zealand roads is fundamentally flawed. This is for a number of reasons outlined below, and detailed further in later sections of this submission:
- Insufficient information has been provided to explain the economic justification for the proposed changes.
- Larger trucks will lead to significantly more wear and tear on roads. Unless the extra wear and tear on roads is paid for through increased road-user charges then the changes will simply involve an increased subsidy for the heavy trucking industry.
- Increasing the maximum size and weight of trucks will mean that trucking competes more directly with rail for bulk goods transport. It is bizarre for government to subsidise trucking and undermine a railway business that is actually owned by the government.
- Potential safety effects of larger trucks.
- Other environmental effects of larger trucks, such as greater CO2 emissions, more particulate matter pollution and more noise pollution.
The CBT considers that the proposed changes will not result in better transport alternatives for New Zealand, but instead increase our dependency on trucking for moving freight around the country.
in other news, the human rights commission is organising its annual diversity forum in wellington this year. i don't think i've missed any of these except the first one, and the programme for this year's forum looks really great. unfortunately the timing coincides with the beginning of ramadan, so looks like i might have to miss this year :(.
and finally, the "my God" series that screened on tv1 is now available on dvd. as you'll see if you click on the link, i was the first person to appear on the first series, and it was one of the best experiences i've ever had. the team involved in creating the programme and the approach they had was totally wonderful. their focus was on getting to know the religion through the people practising it rather than through doctrine, scripture or religious experts/scholars. the best part was how they created a safe atmosphere, so that people could speak of what was important to them without fear of censure. i wish them all the best for series 4.