It’s Friday again and so we’re bringing back the weekly roundup again.

This week in Greater Auckland

EVs to pay road user charges

Fresh from cancelling the clean car discount, the government are now going to be taxing electric vehicles.

The coalition Government is confirming that the exemption from road user charges (RUC) for owners of light electric vehicles (EVs) and plug-in hybrids will end from 1 April, Transport Minister Simeon Brown says.

“Petrol tax and distance-based RUC are paid by road users to contribute to the costs of maintaining our roads, but EVs and plug-in hybrids have been exempted from RUC. Transitioning EVs and plug-in hybrids to RUC is the first step in delivering on the National-ACT coalition commitment to bring all vehicles into the RUC system.

“This transition to RUC is about fairness and equity. It will ensure that all road users are contributing the upkeep and maintenance of our roads, irrespective of the type of vehicle they choose to drive.

“Plug-in hybrids are powered by electricity and petrol and have had to pay petrol tax, but not to the same level as petrol equivalent vehicles. To ensure that plug-in hybrids avoid paying twice through both fuel excise duty and RUCs, these vehicles will pay a reduced rate RUC.

This has long been on the cards, and there is a need for fairness – not to mention the National Land Transport Fund is already stretched. But, coming so soon after the removal of the clean car discount, it does make it seem like this government has it in for EVs, and is desperate to please the oil industry.

And that perception really isn’t helped by comments like this from a government party, describing EVs in general as “a rort”.

It’s also notable that while the government is claiming this is all about fairness and equity, the charges set for EVs of $76 per 1000 mean that EVs will be paying higher road taxes than many modern petrol-powered cars.

The changes to Road User Charges being implemented by the Government incentivise buying polluting vehicles over clean cars, says Better NZ Trust spokesperson Rob Birnie.

“The new system will see many petrol-fuelled cars paying less to use the roads than EVs. The Better NZ Trust is supportive of everyone on our roads fairly contributing to the upkeep and maintenance of our roads, however the changes proposed by the Government do not come close to accomplishing that goal,” says Birnie.

The changes will result in RUC being charged on Battery EVs (BEV) and Plugin Hybrid EVs (PHEV) starting 1 April 2024. BEVs will be charged at the existing rate of $76 per 1000km, while PHEVs will pay $56 per 1000km. Petrol and non-Plugin Hybrids, on the other hand pay 89c a litre in Fuel Excise Duty and related charges. This means petrol burners pay under $76 per 1,000km in Fuel Excise Duty if their fuel efficiency is better than 8.5l per 100km.

For one example I looked up, where a brand makes both a petrol and electric version of the same model – based on reported fuel efficiency, the petrol version could end up paying less than half the taxes of the electric version. That’s what you call a perverse incentive.

Public transport fares increasing

We covered this last year from the AT board meeting papers, but this week AT confirmed that Public Transport fares will increase from 4 February.

Public transport fares in Auckland will rise from 4 February 2024 to help meet significant and sustained operating cost increases.

Each year Auckland Transport (AT) reviews its fares against changes in operating costs and available budget, taking into account the cost of living and the investment needed to maintain and improve public transport services. Fares are then typically updated in February.

“This year we are having to increase fares to keep up with the rising cost of running and maintaining Auckland’s public transport network,” says AT Director Public Transport & Active Modes, Stacey van der Putten.

“In recent years we have been mindful of the impacts COVID-19 and extreme weather has had on our customers. We deferred last year’s fare increase until April and in 2022 there was no increase at all.

“But operating costs have spiked dramatically over this period, driven by high inflation and staff shortages. Adjusting fares to raise revenue is unfortunately one of the steps AT needs to take to cover these higher costs.”

A weighted average increase of 6.2% will be implemented across AT’s fare structure. For standard adult fares, this works out to be an increase of between $0.06 and $0.40 per journey on buses, trains and ferries.

“We are committed to keeping public transport an affordable option for all Aucklanders, so the increase for longer journeys is only 1% – 4%,” says Ms van der Putten.

“Shorter journeys on Auckland’s public transport will still remain some of the most affordable in the world when compared with many other international cities.”

Despite the changes to fares, patronage growth is forecast to continue and this will generate more revenue to help AT meet its operating costs. This growth will be accelerated by the introduction of contactless payments for fares via debit/credit card, Apple Pay and Google Pay later this year, which will make public transport more accessible for those without a HOP card.

Aucklanders can also look forward to simpler fares and more affordable public transport for frequent users following an independent review of AT’s fare structure. The review will explore initiatives such as a weekly fare cap and its findings are expected in the coming months.

Some cool new CRL pics

The City Rail Link Team continue to put out very cool content about the project. This image is from near Maungawhau Station, where there’s an underground junction.

There’s been a few neat timelapses too. Here’s construction at Maungawhau, with three years covered in just under two minutes:

And two and a half years at the Victoria St/Albert St intersection in just over a minute:

Progress in Pt Chev

The Pt Chev to Westmere project is cracking along, with major works on Meola Road (which remains open for walking and cycling access, while closed to general traffic), and lots of underground activity on Pt Chevalier Road.

The latest newsletter from the project team is full of really great pics and interesting details. It’s an excellent reminder that for all the media nonsense from certain quarters about “gold-plated cycleways”, this is a full-scope rebuild that is delivering improvements across the board.

As an article in Stuff today asks: is the town centre (over)due for a boost next?

Rail faults: not just an Auckland problem

It’s not just Auckland’s rail network that needs an overhaul, with Wellington’s network also in need of significant work – highlighted by recent failures due to faults. RNZ reports.

Stranded passengers believe a fault which shut down all outgoing Wellington rail services for several hours this week is another example of an increasingly unreliable network.

KiwiRail was investigating what happened but local council and transport advocates said it was obvious the capital’s trains were severely underfunded.

Nearly 140 commuters spent hours stuck in carriages in sweltering weather on Wednesday.

KiwiRail Metros NZ general manager Jon Knight said overhead lines expanded in the heat resulting in connection shorting and outages.

Power had to be shut off at Wellington Station to allow staff to safely inspect and fix the problem, he said.


On Wednesday, Greater Wellington Regional Council chair Daran Ponter said the shutdown could be a foretaste of what lay in store without further government investment in the ageing network.

“We need somewhere in the order of $150 million in the next three years to keep the renewals programme going. If that money isn’t forthcoming KiwiRail has already advised us we would have to, in some cases, run twice as few trains as we currently do and [in] some instances we would have to close particular lines,” Ponter said.

Some rail history

An interesting thread (and link to more detailed blog post) about some rail history.

and the additional tweets in the thread.

At the time NZRC had just short of 20,000 staff, the report recommended cutting staff by around 6,000. Kiwirail today has only 4,500 staff. The report called for reducing freight train staffing from three to one by removing guards vans and locomotive assistants.

Train lengths to be increased and the manual drawgear should be replaced with much stronger automatic drawgear. Two of the five railway workshops should close (three were ultimately closed). Ferries should be staffed on a volume-variable basis, and had poor cost control.

NZ Road Services coaches were deemed to be mechanically of poor reliability, performance and comfort. The number of freight depots should be heavily consolidated. Curiously it also proposed the mothballed Silverstar sleeper train be refurbished with mixed seated/sleeper config

and used to operate Wellington-Auckland daylight and overnight, with the Silverfern railcars transferred to a Picton-Christchurch-Dunedin service to replace the Southerner and Picton-Chch express. That did not happen.

On speed limits and what matters most

Former government minister and then Mayor of Christchurch, Lianne Dalziel, has written a great piece about why lowering speed limits is important for safety, and why the government shouldn’t roll them back..

There were relatively light levels of traffic both ways, but there was an incident that left me cold.

I came around a corner on the coastal road, pleased to have Kaikoura in my sight, only to see a car with the front right wheel well over the middle line. We both swerved a little to our left. I could see the driver’s face clearly. He looked a little taken aback. That would be an understatement for how I was feeling.

I was travelling under the 80km/h speed limit as I entered the bend. A split-second difference in time was all that stood between my car and his. I think I would have been dead if he or I had been travelling any faster.


And yet the guidelines are clear that the chance of a crash is reduced at a lower travel speed because the road user has more time for decision making, is less likely to lose control, more able to take evasive action and can stop more quickly. That makes sense and it is backed by evidence.

The statistics that correlate speed with injury and death make for grim reading. Even small reductions in speed limits can make a big difference.

It was interesting to see the minister cite the fastest highway in the country – the Tauranga Eastern Link expressway at 110km/h – as the safest road in New Zealand. This was to counter the evidence that higher speeds are never safer. However, the expressway has a median barrier separating opposing lanes of traffic and two lanes each way giving plenty of room for passing. Of course, there are no pedestrians or cyclists allowed on this stretch of road.

Most of our roads are required to accommodate pedestrians and cyclists as well as vehicles, and we are all aware of the insufficiency of median separation and passing lanes on our state highway network.

Weekend reads

  • A great big long read in the Guardian about the rise and rise of Lime scooters (and e-bikes). Full of fascinating details, like this one about a recent TikTok-inspired craze for “hacking” the e-bikes to get free (albeit unpowered) rides:

So many people started cycling hacked Lime bikes that Time Out called their distinctive sound – a “click-clack” caused by the half-engaged locking system – “London’s summer soundtrack”. Lime’s tracking data showed the culprits were almost exclusively children travelling to and from school.

Instead, we need to focus on understanding how to design cities and towns that will support a ‘good life’ for everyone. That is, places where we have access to education, health and other services, healthy locally produced food, where there are ample opportunities to socialise and participate in the community, have fun with family or friends at a nearby park, enjoy locally created arts and culture, and enjoy bird song as we walk or cycle to the shops or school. If any country has the capacity to do this well, it is Aotearoa New Zealand.

To crack the transport emissions nut, we need to rethink the way we live, and to build communities where people want to live, in the fullest sense of the word – not just more houses and roads.

Has there been anything else that’s stood out for you over the recent weeks?

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  1. Auckland Transport is a joke,
    I have told them on lots of bus “STOP” that no longer worked, you will know because they can not replace them they just remove the faulty ones off the bus and you can see two screw holes left. and they still can not do routine testing on the STOP buttons.

    ALBANY BUS TRMINAL …….. ALL the bus drivers that use that terminal need to learn the road code the STOP sign and the GIVE WAY signs do NOT have identical road rules, on the south west side of the bus terminal (next time I go on a NX1 bus or any other bus and they use this STOP sign as a GIVE WAY sign I am going to make a complaint with the Police. not only that, one bus driver (NX1) needs to learn the road rules for a Pedestrian crossing. THIS IS TEACHING BUS PASSENGER A BAD EXAMPLES. I do not see why I should dob in individual bus drivers to Auckland Transport when they ALL vallate the road rule.

  2. While I am praying for peace in the middle east I can’t help but think that what out transport minister and the holy trinity need is for oil to take a good solid spike up to $200 per barrel. It might focus our population and our leader on the need for smaller more efficient vehicles and the need for a switch to walking, cycling and public transport. As a nation we need a strategy to switch to battery vehicles as soon as possible starting with the buses and road freight vehicles that do the most daily road kilometres.

    1. While I would also like to see oil price motivating people to make such decisions, I fear the more likely outcome is that the government would just reduce the fuel taxes like Labour did with the Ukraine situation in order to keep the population happy.

      1. But Luke, there’s no more cycleways left to defund to pay for that. We may have to cut other woke things, like hospitals.

        1. Easy: Given the current highly unusual and unpredictable economic situation, we are being forced to borrow more. However we fully intend to balance the books once things return to more normalcy.

          (Well probably something written a lot better than that, I’m not a speech writer, but you get the idea.)

          Winston isn’t going to mind one iota. ACT might be slightly annoyed, but I’m sure they’ll live with it. Frankly I sort of think they won’t truly care that much, they seem to have moved away from their economic libertarian ideological roots into much more of a classic low tax/limit spending unless it’s for our mates then….. But anyway National could always just fire a bunch more civil servants and cut benefits a bit to keep them happy I’m sure.

    2. There was some talk also on one of the News Channels about putting RUC’s on petrol only vehicles , so will that mean also things like lawn mowers , jet skis and boats will also be done ? .

      And will this pay for their Tax cuts that they want to give their Mates ? .

      1. But they said they weren’t going to bring in or increase new or existing taxes everyone was getting a tax cut etc…etc… that promise didn’t last long, never trust a politician of any colour they’re all liars imo.

      2. I wonder what sort of people benefit from moving tax from petrol to RUCs?

        People with big (ride on?) lawn mowers, jet skis and boats for a start.

        And reducing the tax on petrol will encourage more consumption of fuel, and increasing emissions

        Its 2024 and this government don’t seem to want to reduce emissions which is bizarre to me.

    3. Oil will eventually price higher in western countries as governments start taxing fossil fuel more to pay for renewables. Meanwhile the vast majority of the world’s population will look on in laughter as they continue to buy cheap energy from the Middle East and Russia.
      But even at $200/bbl, oil will still be a cheap energy and remain both popular and essential. Even at $6/litre, many people would rather drive 10kms than walk or cycle.

    4. Trouble with the middle east souced oil will just make our government more excited about granting permits to find oil in our DOC lands and ocean sanctuaries.

      1. Sure but it’s not going to help them much with the problem of high prices. Even the tax gain will be small, especially in the short term or if they don’t find anything useful.

  3. Having recently returned home from a long stint in London, the distinctive ‘click click click’ of a stolen Lime Bike served as a good prompt to put away my phone and keep my hands out of my pockets …

    1. The Lime bikes in Auckland have virtually disappeared due to the activities of thieves and vandals. They put new helmets on them to comply with the over the top NZ laws and they are gone within a couple of days.

  4. And something that I noticed and heard when entering the Waterview tunnel last week , also the number of Drivers that weren’t obey the voice . ;-

    1. Interesting, not seen (heard) that in action before.
      I’m still jealous you can get your YouTube links to show a massive preview and mine are just a URL address. I’ve seen it come up for me once I think before posting…maybe it’s my “AdBlock” doing something, or I am black listed. lol.

      1. Grant – a week before on Saturday there was another incident at the Exit and the announcement didn’t happen .

        all I do is bring the video up , then drag the cursor along the top until it turns blue or or sometimes green and then click on it and drag it across to the comments section and I have found never put any comments under it as the video will never show up , and if you want to post 2 then the 2nd will have to be in another comments box .

        1. OK, from a PC or device?, Highlight the web address I guess is all you are doing then drag it is the only difference I see you are doing.

  5. Are AT putting up the rates for public parking too? Surely if they would not put up PT fares and leave parking unchanged?

    1. Good point Gordon but shouldn’t it go further than that? Shouldn’t there be an examination of all currently uncharged parking spaces to see whether they should be? There are obvious starting points in my view. Why should boat ramp parking be free when there is obviously a cost in maintaining it? Should leisure centre parks be charged and the cost of use of facilities come down? And park n rides? What was their benefit again? Was it that they encourage users to drive as far as they want and then use PT for the last part so that they can avoid expensive parking costs at the end of the destination?

  6. Glad to see Meola progressing. Re Pt Chev town centre, I don’t see anything happening until another project (e.g. NW rapid transit) is a catalyst. The library is literally a hidden room now to pick up books, which is better than nothing, but it is far from our old library.

    Great North goes through the middle, and the lane markings are funky causing traffic to push into each other’s lane. Old ‘heritage’ buildings that are falling apart. It’s meh, but I don’t see any rush. As long as we get our full service library back I’ll be happy, as it’s super accessible with the 66 stopping outside.

  7. Pt Chev will also get access to another supermarket on Carrington Rd, 700 m from the New World. NW rapid transit may not be that rapid – it should have been there not long after the Waterview Tunnel opened – but it will add activity.

    1. That supermarket (not confirmed who it will be) is about 1.1km via the street network and is likely several years away.

  8. Just rode up to the dairy in One Tree Hill,rode along Hoheria,250 meters long according to Google Maps. Potholes have been circled for repair,25 places marked for repair. This is on top of an already hotch potch of alleged repairs, the road surface is so bad,l will not ride it on the downhill leg ,in bad light. It does have bus traffic on it,but is not heavily trafficked.

  9. Ah. New taxes from National, NZF and ACT.

    Who’s surprised?

    Any guesses as to what they’ll be taxing next? How about fresh air? Or clean drinking water?

    On a more serious note – that simian Brown character’s maths is awful. Did he want to make non-gas guzzlers pay more tax than gas guzzlers? Or is this just the Nasties living up to form and subsidising their Trucking donors?

    1. RUC on EVs has been signposted for years and Labour chose not to extend the exemption while they had the chance.

      But why let get the facts get in the way of a good froth.

      1. Great strawman you’ve created there. Hit away at it. Enjoy it. But when you’ve finished …

        Perhaps tell me what rates were discussed?
        And how they’d be implemented?
        And whether anyone expected two vehicles from the same brand, one ICE and one EV, would see the EV version paying more tax than the ICE version?

        1. 100%.

          You either incentivise something, or as ACT so often try to claim. You let the market decide.

          So they either charge everyone at the same rate now and get rid of fuel tax, otherwise this approach to change more than an ICE car is nothing short of an incentive for a certain type of car. Ironically Simeon Brown seems to think the answer to all our emission prayers (he can’t comprehend congestion that’s a step to far for his brain capacity) is to let the same EVs he’s making it less appetizing to own do all the work. It’s honestly such a odd approach. At best it’s weird culture war BS, at worst it’s pandering to oil lobbying

    2. We already pay a tax on clean water. The farming industry pours shit into our waterways with impunity, and the rest of us pay to clean it up.
      And if anyone should suggest that farmers should pay anything it is characterised as red tape, just emotive nonsense.

      And there is a tax for not having clean air. The estimates are somewhere between $12billion and $30billion by 2030 that NZ will have to pay for carbon credits. because of our emissions.

      Never mind, that will all be affordable if those selfish people who currently don’t have health insurance would purchase it; then the health system could really be run down.

  10. Hmmm …

    Are people aware that cars do very little damage to our roads?

    This is because they are lightweight when compared to trucks. And the heavier a vehicle becomes the greater the damage. And its not linear. It’s friggin’ exponential!

    Are trucking companies paying for the damage their trucks do? (No.)

    Is this National Party using spurious logic to pretend we must all pay for roads when in fact one group pays far less? (Trucks and other heavy vehicles!)

    This obscene con-job by the simian was pushed through with NO CONSULTANCY whatsoever. If we’re really after a user pays system them dammit make the trucks pay far, far more.

    You may wonder why I’m outraged. Well, read this:

  11. And what sort of lead in period for the new RUC’s , or will the Police start to enforce them from Day 1 so the consolidated fund gets a large boast from those that have failed to get theirs ? .

  12. Dalziel’s comments are pretty much as expected from a “speed limit noddy” who thinks that such limits are also the limit to following good driving practices on the road. Interesting that she considers “driving at the speed limit” in Kaikōura to be the biggest feature of her “safe” driving.
    What about driving skills and the 100 % application of these at all times? One should always be able to stop in half the clear distance ahead, irrespective of speed; safe lines through corners should be applied with wide, slow into the apex given vision around a corner and then ability to accelerate through the apex.
    The “speed limit” obsessives are dangerous people as they think that the “limit” is the god given panacea to road safety. You can see these people in thick fog on SH1 near the Waikato river on a winter morning, driving at the speed limit when I am gingerly proceeding at 40-50 mph.
    You won’t ever hear of lefties like Dalziel calling for better driver education; car haters will have no interest in knowing about what it takes to be a better, safer and even enthusiastic driver.
    The speed limit mindset is dangerous because it takes the focus of the real issues of driver knowledge, skill, motivation, attention and application. Under a blanket speed limit regime, the police don’t spend resources on identifying and correcting bad driving skills, but use the artificial low speed limits on safe stretches of road to conduct a revenue raising campaign.
    Let us hope that for once, a new government refocuses on the real killers of drugs, alcohol and lack of proper driving education in this country. The same old “speed kills” mantra has not succeeded in the last 50 or more years

    1. Dear David, the police, politicians & others have been banging the “alcohol, & poor driver training” drum for years because these are always ‘other people’ so I can absolve myself from responsibility and not change my behaviour one iota.
      Whereas in reality the technology has moved on. Remember your mum’s 850 mini which needed a run up from last Tuesday to get to the then 80k speed limit, so the speed limit was seldom at risk of being breached.
      The problem is pretty well every car on the road in NZ today is capable of blasting past every speed limit in the country and in fact pretty damn smartly so what do people do instead.
      They set their cruise control. They set it at (or just above) the limit and that’s the speed they expect to travel.
      This has two effects. Where the road is not capable of sustaining that speed particularly round corners you see all sorts of crazy antics as people arrive at the corner too fast due to being locked on CC. Many of our rural roads fall into this category like the roads north and south of Kaikōura.
      Secondarily, those who set their cc to drive at the limit get super annoyed real quick when they encounter vehicles travelling below the target. I mean limit.
      So what is to be done? First our speed limits need to be recast as targets; “The maximum sustainable speed for an average vehicle set to travel on this road”. Our road management authorities need to reassess posted speed limits under this approach.
      As an example the road from Queenstown to Glenorchy is mostly a 100km road. 100km can be sustained if you have no concerns for passenger comfort, tyre wear or fuel consumption. (4wd company ute’s, I’m looking at you)
      For the rest of us we do our best with one eye glued to the mirror to get out of the way of those who see the 100 limit as a target for them & their cruise control settings.
      Under a regime that viewed limits as targets large chunks of that road who be at 70, 80 or at most 90km/hr.
      Regrettably I can’t see this approach being acknowledged and implemented.
      So please, David, before trotting out the talking points of those in power have a think about why what they have been saying and working on for years is just not working. What else is going on?
      Technology has changed, our behaviours have changed but the rules haven’t kept up.

      1. One big difference between driving in NZ and the urban fringes of SE Queensland is how there, speed limits on a road constantly change to match the challenges of each section of road.
        No blanket speed limits but rural sections varying from 100k through to 40k, from straight wide sections to a section of narrow winding road constrained between a steep hill and a river bed.

  13. And this is Possibly the 4th to go under the axe from the Fat Controller and his Side kick Simpleton Brown , and this from a mob that wants to keep New Zealand on Track but no the only track they like is one that goes through an bush which doesn’t cost them anything in up-keep .

    “Te Huia in extinction fight after Auckland rail canned”

    “With the multi-billion dollar Auckland light rail project formally axed, there are fresh questions about the Government’s appetite for continuing the Hamilton-Auckland Te Huia passenger rail trial.”

  14. The comment in the post about EV RUCs effectively being more than petrol certainly does highlight the disparity here.
    If you wanted to even it up then you should look at several models that do have both BEV and ICE (and ideally PHEV too) and get a more realistic figure (I would say more like $65 for EV and $45 for PHEV). Even more so if you consider that EVs aren’t contributing to our GHG emissions. Furthermore they really should be rating PHEVs on a variety of factors – how big is the battery? How worn is the battery?

    For PHEV in particular, they should also consider a graduated scale. The more km it does, the less EV mode it uses and uses more petrol instead (which it pays fuel tax on). So <10,000km should be at the higher rate but anything over that should be at a reduced rate to avoid double dipping on the tax.

    1. Keep in mind the RUC rate for a BEV isn’t some special rate to punish them, its the same rate that applies to diesel powered light vehicles.
      The issue that it highlights however is that for all the crying that goes on every time petrol taxes increase, they haven’t increased enough to keep pace with the reductions in fuel consumption in more modern cars.
      Its also a consequence of the very blunt way RUCs are applied to light vehicles with a single flat rate for anything below 3,500kgs. So the RUC rate needs to match the current petrol tax revenue for the fleet average not the most fuel efficient new cars.
      Ideally they would move everyone onto RUCs to pay for the road use component of their vehicle use. But still retain an emissions tax on carbon based fuels, to cover the environmental and public health impacts of vehicle emissions and provide an incentive to switch to cleaner/more efficient vehicles that way.

      1. RUCs have been that under 3.5T level as a flat rate for years. Ostensibly the argument went, it was to simplify admin of the RUC system at the bottom of the RUC pool – have a single class, put everyone in the same class, easy to bill, easy to enforce – yada, yada, yada.

        And it was always the big fear that when EVs and Plugin Hybrid EVs eventually joined the RUC system they’d be chucked into the same default “one size fits all RUC band (bucket)” as diesel utes.

        And it has more or less come to pass.

        The issue that MoT has had for years was they said they recognised that needed to avoid double taxing, that putting plug in hybrids into RUCs, yet have them also paying petrol taxes caused – but they could not set the actual RUC rate for these vehicles appropriately – hence why it has not ever happened. Too hard basket basically.

        But now they have and it shows up that this new RUC band is clearly set way too high and makes a complete distortion of road taxes for this type of vehicles as they do pay both ways, and end up paying way more towards the upkeep of the roads than they should.

        But in fact all light vehicles pay way more than they should.

        That chart Chris posted on Friday from 2016 shows this.
        I relink it here as its a good one.

        Which shows the average Hummer H2 (back in 2016) caused 21 times the damage of the average (US) 4,000 pound – ~”1.7 tonne equivalent in NZ” car.

        Yet in NZ, that Hummer or any >3.5T and less than 6T vehicles on NZ Roads would be in the “up to 6000kg class” for RUCs – which means in practice under current RUCs they pay only about 6 tenths of a cent more (8.2 cents a km versus 7.6cents a km for diesel utes etc). Or not even 8% more – for the right to cause 21 or more times damage to the roads -compared to the 1.7T “average” car. And that Hummer H2 is just into the 3.5T to 6T band, yet causes 21 times more damage. Makes you wonder what a right at the top end of the 6T RUC class damage level would be, way more than 21 times for sure.

        Now before you start and say yeah but aren’t all EVS are heavier than normal cars, yes they are, but not by as much as you hear or read – and for most cars not much more so than 1.7T, a Tesla Model 3 is about 1.7 to 2.0T “kerb weight” – depending on exact model/size of battery etc. A Nissan Leaf (our most popular EV in the EV fleet until recently, is also pretty light in its weight class too).

        Certainly we’re not in the >2.4T or similar “monster numbers” that are quoted and many other EVs are similarly only a little heavier than a directly comparable non EV equivalent. And many SUVs and Plugin HEVs are now relative weight monsters in comparison to what they were even 8 years ago. So the average vehicle weight in the US is I recall some 10% heavier than even a decade ago.

        So its a classic case yet again of heavy vehicles of all sizes >3.5T actually being subsidised from the bottom end of the vehicle fleet by petrol car drivers and the bottom end RUC payers – its not the usual hard luck story we hear so often from the trucking industry of how they pay the bulk of the RUCs and the roading costs in NZ – they do pay the bulk of the RUCs in $ terms – whether they pay the bulk given that 81% of the roading funds come from petrol taxes is a different discussion -, but regardless of what the trucking industry pay now – its not and has never been anywhere near enough to cover their damage they’re causing to the roads.

        The current current RUC regime is hardly fair, but its not a new story. But its one we need Politicians to wise up to and stop the trucking industry to continuing to play out as they have done for decades.

        Yes lets bring in RUCs for EVs of all types, but lets also make the process fairer to all road users by placing the RUC burdens according to the RUC weight bands where the actual road damage are being caused.

        If that was to play out then RUCs for all RUC paying vehicles under 3.5T could easily be halved from their current 7.6 cents a km – and it would also mean the need for these special RUC classes for plug in hybrids could disappear overnight too. So allowing the one class for all bottom end vehicles to continue, to simplify admin and enforcement.

        Letting NZTA get on focus on ensuring the roading costs are better apportioned according to actual “user pays” is clearly needed here – something that ACT is always big on over fairness when it comes to “private rights” over all – yet always becomes disturbingly silent on whenever we’re talking about fairness of such things that are “in the public good” that might trump private rights.

        National via PM Luxon [and NZ First to some extent too] also harks on at length about “getting rid of Corporate welfare”, yet the NZ Trucking industry cross subsidisation from petrol and bottom end RUC payers while carefully avoiding paying their fair share of the roading costs – is one of the biggest Corporate Welfare larks out there that there is or have ever been.

        Its really time the RUC system was either sorted out or replaced with something else. Persisting with the current dog of a system is how we have got into the current lack of funding mess.

        Its a funding crisis thats arrived not because 2% of NZ Vehicles aren’t paying anything towards up keeping the roads thats for sure.

        And rushing RUCs in for EVS in a moral panic that we as a goverment have [a mandate] to “do something” as is being touted here is just papering over extremely large cracks in the system and is not going to result in a better or fairer system.

  15. With fares going up soon , here is an item about why fares are so expensive in London .
    And they had the same thing happen there as we had where the local body’s had to divest their PT operations ;-

    1. The legislation preventing local bodies in NZ from owning public transport was repealed by Labour. So expect it to be reinstaed soon.

  16. I appreciate the clarification regarding the weight of electric vehicles (EVs) compared to conventional cars. It’s important to note that while some EVs may be slightly heavier, they are not significantly heavier than their non-EV counterparts. Additionally, the increasing weight of SUVs and plugin hybrid electric vehicles (basket random) compared to a decade ago is also a concerning trend.

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