Chief Operating Officer’s Report

March 2, 2021 7:24 pm

Simon Carson updates members on the latest issues, including certifier problems for HMVs and upcoming changes in legislation.

During early February I spent time in Regions 2 and 3 with Sandy Walker and our new man in Region 2, Simon Vincent, visiting members in the Napier, Hawkes Bay, and Gisborne areas.  

The continuing trend of main industry concerns were focussed on compliance, roading, and driver shortage. With much of the Poverty Bay area working in New Zealand’s logging sector, a number of concerns were taken away to be worked on by the association. The Eastland Road Transport Association held its Annual General Meeting in Gisborne on February 10. Notable points were the appointment of Steve Kent as the new Eastland president, supported by Campbell Gilmore in the vice seat; the commendable effort that has been put in to the Tairawhiti Road Transport Cadet scheme by Dave Pardoe and his team to secure ongoing funding for the project; and ongoing placement of staff into industry businesses.  

The specialist HMV certification problems continue to escalate, not only on the East Coast, but right across NZ. Operators still find it difficult to have equipment or repairs certified by heavy vehicle certifiers, where nationwide, our industry is still experiencing a massive shortage of approved certifiers. With the barriers to entry and the implications for new certifiers presenting no appeal, industry is likely to have this challenge on top of many others for some time to come. The LT400 process is also extremely slow and restrictive. It simply does not allow operators to move recertified gear back into a working environment in a timely  manner. We have been clear with Waka Kotahi NZ Transport Agency that this is costly and unproductive, and addressing this issue needs to be treated as a point of utmost priority. 

Members should be aware that next month changes in legislation will allow enforcement of anticompetitive behaviour. The changes have been made under the Commerce (Criminalisation of Cartels) Amendment Act 2019—which is due to come into full force on April 8. Under the new statutory regime, criminal penalties may be imposed on individuals and businesses that deliberately engage in cartel type conduct. Illegal collusion, or “cartel conduct”, occurs when two or more businesses agree to coordinate their activities in order to increase profits and limit competition. This coordination can take various forms, including price-fixing, dividing up markets, bid rigging, or restricting the output of goods and services.

Fines and penalties are significant and whilst currently any cartel conduct identifiable with any individual constitutes a civil offence under the Commerce Act 1986, from April 8, cartel conduct will also constitute a criminal offence where imprisonment and/or fines will apply. Businesses will also be subject to the new criminal regime, and will face criminal fines equal in value to those which may currently be imposed under the civil enforcement regime. If you require further information on this topic, please contact RTANZ commercial legal partners, Wynn Williams.

Over the week of Feb 22 truck drivers and RTA representatives came together at towns and cities around the country to recognise National Truck Driver Appreciation Week (NTDAW). Supported by Truck and Driver Magazineand The Rock radio station, BBQ food, drinks,  giveaways and even at some venues, voluntary health and wellbeing checks, saw hundreds of drivers enjoy some well-deserved RTF and association hospitality. RTA staff hosted NTDAW events at Invercargill, Dunedin, Glasnevin (Canterbury) in the south, with Taranaki and Ohakea featuring in the North. CVST and Waka Kotahi NZ Transport Agency  representatives along with RTA life members and supporters came along for a chat, with some proving to be  be a dab hand on the grill. Thanks to everyone who came together to make the week a success, and to say “ job well done” to the guys and girls behind the wheels of heavy industry.