General Election 2020

Introduction

On Saturday 17 October 2020, New Zealanders will vote for the Government to lead the country for the next three years. The Road Transport Forum wants those in the road freight transport industry to be aware what the main contending parties will offer to this industry to ensure its ongoing prosperity. We have invited those parties to share their policies and plans with us on this page.

The RTF has produced an Election Manifesto highlighting the key issues for this industry for this election. We have asked the party leaders for their views on these issues.

We will post news and commentary of interest leading up to the election on this page.

Cannabis referendum

The Cannabis Legislation and Control Bill will be voted on in an election referendum at the 2020 general election. It will be a yes/no vote.

There is a lot of commentary around the legalising of recreational cannabis – it is important to know that this referendum is about recreational cannabis use, not medicinal, which is already legal.

The RTF’s view of the current Bill is that there is no consideration for workplace and road safety, which makes it a problem for the road freight transport industry, and other safety sensitive industries. It exposes employers and Boards, bound by strict health and safety legislation. It is also likely to impact the availability and cost of insurance. We don’t believe the full impacts on business have been explored.

We want people to be well informed when they vote.

What the main parties say

Labour party transport spokesperson Phil Twyford

Drugs, in particular what is planned by the Labour party for the Cannabis Legislation and Control Bill and the referendum result ie. Will it be considered binding?

It is already illegal to drive while impaired by the use of cannabis and the Government announced measures last year to introduce roadside drug testing and improve the enforcement of drug driving offences. Drivers who test positive for the presence of drugs will be fined and immediately suspended from driving for a minimum of 12 hours and will face criminal penalties if they fail a compulsory impairment test and blood tests confirm impairing levels of drugs in their system.

Workplace and road safety issues are already covered in our law and we are strengthening these systems. Under existing law, employers and employees must make sure the workplace is safe. Employees must comply with any reasonable policy or procedure relating to health and safety, including on alcohol and drugs. In Budget 2019 the Government invested $60 million into WorkSafe to ensure it can help keep our workplaces safe.

The Cannabis Legalisation and Control Bill that will be voted on in a referendum at this year’s Election has been publicly released. This bill provides details of how New Zealanders will choose whether or not to legalise and regulate cannabis and provides an opportunity so that the public feel they can meaningfully participate in the referendum. That bill includes details such as a minimum age of 20 to use and purchase recreational cannabis, regulations and commercial supply controls, limited home-growing options, a public education programme and stakeholder engagement.

All the parties that make up the current Government have committed to abide by the outcome of the cannabis referendum. If the majority of eligible New Zealanders vote for the Cannabis Legalisation and Control Bill to become law, as the 53rd Government, we would follow their direction and introduce the Bill to the House. Through the Select Committee process, there will be additional opportunities for New Zealanders to provide input on the text of the Bill.  

Workforce, in particular what is planned by the Labour party to ensure truly fair conditions for employers and workers that allow freedom of choice and flexibility? We do not support “one size fits all” laws as flexibility for workers is a key ingredient in a successful road freight transport industry.

Labour is committed to improving New Zealanders’ lives at work.  We do this by raising wages, protecting them while they are at work, growing jobs and investing in the economy.

We’ve done a lot of work to ensure more New Zealanders were sharing the country’s economic success, and had good jobs, decent work conditions and high wages. This includes increases to the minimum wage, improvements to the Employment Relations Act and our increased investment in WorkSafe to keep Kiwis safe on the job.  Labour standards help good employers as well as good workers because they enable them to compete on innovation rather than a race to the bottom on wages.

Evidence shows there is much to be gained from employers and workers in industries coming together and discussing and agreeing the best way forward.  This is the opposite of a national “one-size-fits-all” model.  That’s why we’re committed to the introduction of industry standards by way of Fair Pay Agreements.

We have also done significant work to link together the education, immigration, and social development systems to grow the pipeline of Kiwi workers with the skills industry needs.

In the road transport area, safety is our top transport priority and will continue to be. Our road to zero strategy is about reducing the number of deaths to zero which will mean a lot to the trucking workforce as we know that crashes involving trucks make up more than 20 percent of deaths on our roads. That is why we are making safety improvements on our state highways. We’ve delivered almost 3000kms of rumble strips, up to 169kms of road safety barriers in higher risk areas, and upgraded nine high-risk rural intersections to help save lives on our deadliest roads. Our upgrades are expected to prevent 160 deaths a year.

Covid-19 and the economy, in particular what is planned by the Labour party to manage the economy in a Covid-19 world? We are particularly interested in plans for roads to get goods moving, especially exports and imports.

By going hard and going early Labour have put New Zealand in the best possible position to recover from COVID-19 stronger and faster than other countries. Now we’re in a stronger position to bounce back faster. We’ve got real momentum, and a detailed five point plan for the economy.  Here’s what we are doing:

  1. Investing in our people: We’re putting people at the heart of our plan. We cushioned the blow with the wage subsidy which supported around 1.7 million jobs, we’re increasing incomes for the most vulnerable Kiwis and have invested in extra mental health and wellbeing support.
  2. Jobs, jobs, jobs: Our recovery and rebuild is focused on getting Kiwis back to work and training those who are out of work. We’ve made apprenticeships free, we’re building thousands of new state houses and we’re creating thousands of jobs on crucial infrastructure projects.
  3. Preparing for the future: This is our chance to build back better and take on the challenges that lie ahead by investing in clean energy, housing and our environment.
  4. Supporting small businesses, entrepreneurs and job creators: Small and medium enterprises are at the heart of our economy. That’s why we’ve backed them through the COVID outbreak and continue to support them to grow and export, with tax refunds, interest free loans and more.
  5. Position New Zealand globally: As a trading nation, we rely on international customers. That’s why we’re helping exporters connect with overseas markets and negotiating trade deals with the UK and the EU.

The transport part of our plan includes $6.8 billion being invested in transport projects including major roads, road safety improvements, and rail as part of the NZ Upgrade. These include a new 22km four-lane road from Whangārei to Port Marsden, a four-lane road from Omokoroa to Tauranga, and improvements on SH76 to support a more reliable freight route to Lyttelton Port. This is on top of other costed and funded roads such as the Manawatū Gorge replacement highway. We’re also investing a further $700 million into transport related shovel ready projects. In total the shovel ready projects will create more than 20,000 jobs up and down New Zealand.

Environment, what is planned in the “green freight” space to move away from diesel as the only fuel source for heavy vehicles – how much will be invested and how much will be incentivised?

Labour knows road freight is vital to New Zealand’s economy, but at the same time we are committed to reducing our greenhouse gas emission and getting NZ down to carbon neutral by 2050. That is why we kicked off the green freight project to look at the role alternative green fuels – electricity, green hydrogen and biofuels – could play in reducing emissions in road freight. We want to continue to work through all the options with the industry on this as we know a one size fits all approach won’t work.


Green Party transport spokesperson
Julie Anne Genter

Drugs, in particular what is planned by the Green party for the Cannabis Legislation and Control Bill and the referendum result ie. Will it be considered binding?

The decision at the referendum will be whether we want to continue the widespread use of illegal cannabis in New Zealand, or have a strongly regulated market. The Green Party look forward to implementing the Cannabis Legalisation and Control Bill, which will allow us to better control cannabis issues that already exist in workplace health and safety and on our roads.  Regardless though of whether the proposed law is supported by a majority of New Zealanders, this Government is taking action on drug driving.  I have been leading work on a new drug driving law that is scheduled to be introduced to Parliament before the election.  This will strengthen the rules on all drugs that impair driving so that we apply a similar standard to drug driving as we do to driving under the influence of alcohol.

Workforce, in particular what is planned by the Green party to ensure truly fair conditions for employers and workers that allow freedom of choice and flexibility? We do not support “one size fits all” laws as flexibility for workers is a key ingredient in a successful road freight transport industry.

Good working conditions help support good lives. The Green Party has supported the Government to end National’s roll-back of workplace rights, including restoring the right to a meal break and ending most 90-day trial periods.  We want to see better conditions for workers by moving to default union membership so people automatically join a union when they start a new job, with an opt-out clause.  This will enable workers to better negotiate for good, flexible conditions that work for them, while still allowing people to choose to opt-out and do individual agreements.

Covid-19 and the economy, in particular what is planned by the Green party to manage the economy in a Covid-19 world? We are particularly interested in plans for roads to get goods moving, especially exports and imports.

We need to put people and planet first as we reset our economy. The Green Party will free up space on our roads by connecting our cities and provincial towns with fast, modern passenger and freight rail.  The majority of congestion on our state highway is caused by sole occupants travelling in cars. By investing in faster more frequent urban and inter regional public transport we’ll have fewer people driving at peak times. This will improve travel time reliability for high value trips like moving freight.

Environment, what is planned in the “green freight” space to move away from diesel as the only fuel source for heavy vehicles – how much will be invested and how much will be incentivised?

The Green Party vision is to create a more environmentally sustainable and productive transport system. Investing in the “missing modes” like passenger and freight rail, supporting coastal shipping, and insuring we have multi-modal connections (like inland ports) will help free up our roads and reduce the private and carbon cost of moving people and goods around. In addition to increasing the mode share of freight carried by rail and ship, we must gradually replace the country’s ground light and heavy vehicle fleet with zero emission vehicles such as EVs, biodiesel and green hydrogen-powered heavy trucks.  The pathway there includes fuel efficiency standards for cars and a feebate scheme. In terms of zero emissions heavy vehicles, we are very interested in exploring incentives such as road user charge exemptions, a biofuels mandate, and continuing to support green hydrogen infrastructure projects.


New Zealand First transport spokesperson Shane Jones

Drugs, in particular what is planned by the New Zealand First party for the Cannabis Legislation and Control Bill and the referendum result ie. Will it be considered binding?

New Zealand First believes conscience issues should not be decided by Members of Parliament but by the general voting public, through a binding referendum. The Cannabis Control Bill is one example of this policy of ours in action and whatever the result of that referendum will be, we will consider it binding.

Workforce, in particular what is planned by the New Zealand First party to ensure truly fair conditions for employers and workers that allow freedom of choice and flexibility? We do not support “one size fits all” laws as flexibility for workers is a key ingredient in a successful road freight transport industry.

New Zealand First sought changes to the Employment Relations Act of 2018 to ensure flexibility of employment and promote fair conditions for workers. Only businesses with less than 20 full-time employees can make use of the 90-day trial periods, this is to protect workers from unfair dismissal while still giving small businesses the confidence to hire new employees.  

Covid-19 and the economy, in particular what is planned by the New Zealand First party to manage the economy in a Covid-19 world? We are particularly interested in plans for roads to get goods moving, especially exports and imports.

New Zealand First said that to recover from the Covid-19 crisis we need to back ourselves. As part of the Covid-19 recovery, the Government announced a $3 billion infrastructure pipeline to build shovel-ready projects across the country to kickstart economic activity. These include building and upgrading major roads and highways, rail lines, and seaports. By enhancing these vital transport links, we can safely and easily move people and products across the country.

Environment, what is planned in the “green freight” space to move away from diesel as the only fuel source for heavy vehicles – how much will be invested and how much will be incentivised?

New Zealand First have invested $5.2 billion to rejuvenate our country’s rail network during this term of government. Rail transport produces less carbon emissions ensuring that we have an environmentally-friendly way of moving not just people, but also products, across the country and into our seaports to export overseas.


National party transport spokesperson Chris Bishop

Drugs, in particular what is planned by the National party for the Cannabis Legislation and Control Bill and the referendum result ie. Will it be considered binding? 

National opposes legalisation of cannabis as it will not make NZ healthier, wealthier, safer or happier. We are also concerned over the referendum process. Unlike other referendums in the past (MMP, and the NZ Flag), the actual issue being voted on has not been through Parliament, ie despite some reporting to the contrary, a positive vote by the public does not bring the bill into law, it is just an indicative referendum. This is a suboptimal process.

Despite that, we will respect the referendum outcome if passed by introducing the Bill and sending it to a Select Committee. Whether the Bill progresses beyond that stage will depend on public submissions and Parliament.

National will fast track drug driving testing legislation and pass in our first 100 days.

Workforce, in particular what is planned by the National party to ensure truly fair conditions for employers and workers that allow freedom of choice and flexibility? We do not support “one size fits all” laws as flexibility for workers is a key ingredient in a successful road freight transport industry.

We agree and our employment relations policy, when released, will reflect this.

Covid-19 and the economy, in particular what is planned by the National party to manage the economy in a Covid-19 world? We are particularly interested in plans for roads to get goods moving, especially exports and imports.

National has a fully costed and budgeted for $31 billion transport package, which is spending over and above what the current government is doing. We have planned significant investments in high quality four lane expressways around the country, including a 20 year vision for a four lane expressway network linking Whangarei, Auckland, Hamilton and Tauranga, including the Tauranga to Katikati Expressway and the Hamilton Southern Link project. We will also build a four lane expressway from Christchurch to Ashburton, and continue the Christchurch Northern Corridor from Belfast to Pegasus. More details can be found online.

Our rail investments, including a third and fourth main line in Auckland, will have sizeable benefits for freight.

Environment, what is planned in the “green freight” space to move away from diesel as the only fuel source for heavy vehicles – how much will be invested and how much will be incentivised? 

National currently doesn’t have any active policy in this space but we are very interested in developing technology in this area. Our Electric Vehicle policy builds on the gains made under the last National government (yet to be released).


ACT party – leader David Seymour

Drugs, in particular what is planned by the ACT party for the Cannabis Legislation and Control Bill and the referendum result ie. Will it be considered binding?

The cannabis referendum will not be binding as the legislation has not been through Parliament yet. ACT would honour the referendum result by voting the legislation to Select Committee so public submissions could be made, one of our key concerns in supporting the legislation further will be ensuring employers are not put between a rock and a hard place with legalised cannabis and Health and Safety obligations. If there is to be a law change, these laws must work together.

ACT also voted in support of the Drug Driving Bill, which recently had its first reading in Parliament.

Workforce, in particular what is planned by the ACT party to ensure truly fair conditions for employers and workers that allow freedom of choice and flexibility? We do not support “one size fits all” laws as flexibility for workers is a key ingredient in a successful road freight transport industry.

ACT was founded on principles of choice, freedom and personal responsibility. We are totally opposed to the return of the infamous National Awards in the form of ‘Fair Pay agreements’. ACT favours more innovative and flexible employment laws for the benefit of both employers and employees. We opposed the removal of 90-day trials for businesses of more than 20 employees. We believe this should be the law for all businesses.

Covid-19 and the economy, in particular what is planned by the ACT party to manage the economy in a Covid-19 world? We are particularly interested in plans for roads to get goods moving, especially exports and imports.

ACT has been the leading voice in Parliament for the Government be more flexible and innovative in safely opening the economy. Trade and the movement of goods is the lifeblood of the New Zealand economy. Continuing with control and command measures from government will stifle business while eroding both our economic and social well-being.  

Environment, what is planned in the ‘green freight’ space to move away from diesel as the only fuel source for heavy vehicles – how much will be invested and how much will be incentivised?

ACT alone voted against the Zero Carbon Bill.  New Zealand should not try to ‘lead the world’ with punishing greenhouse gas emission targets that our global partners do not meet. We recognise the technological challenges of phasing out diesel fuel for the heavy transport fleet and the limitations of lithium ion batteries for transporting heavy loads over distances.

International vehicle manufacturers are engaged in many global initiatives and inevitably these new break-through technologies will be incorporated into heavy vehicle fleets. Businesses are best placed to respond and adapt to these new opportunities. Government- led initiatives tend to be inflexible, poorly focused and are often wasteful.