Major Transport Organisations Leave Ia Ara Aotearoa Transporting New Zealand
Posted: 06-Oct-2021 |

The road transport industry faces the risk of not speaking to government agencies with a unified voice following the National Road Carriers Inc. and NZ Trucking Association splitting from Ia Ara Aotearoa Transporting New Zealand.

The National Road Carriers (NRC), based in Auckland, and NZ Trucking Association, based in Christchurch, announced their immediate exit from Ia Ara Aotearoa Transporting NZ (formerly the Road Transport Forum) on Friday, 1st October.

The two departing groups are both members of the Owner Carriers Association of New Zealand (OCANZ) leaving members of the four Road Transport Association (RTANZ) regional branches as members of Ia Ara Aotearoa Transporting New Zealand. 

In a combined statement the two groups said they had reached an impasse with RTANZ regarding industry association structure.

 “An untenable proposal was put to our associations to merge and create one centralised industry body based in Wellington,’’ the statement said.

‘Representative board members from both National Road Carriers and NZ Trucking believe such a structure would not be in the best interests of our members and would dilute the grass roots understanding of industry issues and the provision of services.

“Our members have told us they need us to have a single-minded focus on the issues that keep them up at night. These include: Roading and infrastructure failure, shortage of skilled workers, compliance, climate change, the pandemic and supply chain crisis.”

The revised structure of Ia Ara Aotearoa/Transporting NZ will represent the four regions of the NZRTA.

“Road Transport Association New Zealand (RTANZ) is made up of four regional groups giving nationwide representation to members and holding five spots on the Transporting New Zealand Board, says Transporting New Zealand chief executive Nick Leggett.

“NRC and NZ Trucking are part of one organisation, Owner Carriers Association of New Zealand (OCANZ), which held four spots on the Transporting New Zealand board. These board positions have been relinquished as part of OCANZ’s desire to go its own way.

“Transporting New Zealand remains the national organisation in Wellington, representing the bulk of the industry by meeting with government officials and elected representatives in Parliament and advocating for the best results as rules, regulations and laws that affect road freight transport are developed and put into practice.

“Transporting New Zealand also holds the ownership of Te ara ki tua Road to success and will continue operating this essential industry traineeship in partnership with the government.’

Leggett confirmed his view that the industry needs to present a unified voice on key issues.

“As a national organisation, the RTANZ board were conscious of a desire from the road freight industry to have one voice and to avoid duplication between the three associations and the advocacy work of Transporting New Zealand. They proposed a new structure to OCANZ members NRC and NZ Trucking.

“In the end, those two organisations have decided to stick to their local areas and that presents an opportunity to refresh how services and advocacy are delivered to the rest of the road freight transport industry, via RTANZ and Transporting New Zealand,’’ Leggett says.

“We expect an interim board will be set up to determine the details of our future direction and we remain committed to getting the best possible results for the road freight transport industry, which faces many challenges right now, and in the months and years ahead as New Zealand grapples with both Covid-19 and disruption in the global supply chain.”

Leggett says that’s a fractured system of representation for road transport issues isn’t ideal but adds: ``The previous structure was not delivering one voice either. The industry has struggled to get on one page.’’

In its statement the two departing groups claim to represent 64% of the Transporting NZ membership. Leggett refutes this: 

`That’s not true,’’ he said.

“This argument has been about having one national organisation and if they truly had 64% then why didn’t they support that one organisation? That was offered to them just weeks ago and they would have been able to heavily influence it.”

The statement issued by the departing NRC and NZTA members also says: ``The exit from Transporting New Zealand enables National Road Carriers and NZ Trucking to refocus our resources to support our members needs locally, in Wellington and across sectors. Our teams and board members are looking forward to a more focused and productive output for our members.

“Our priority is to continue work at the grass roots level with our members, listen and understand their real-life issues, concerns, and frustrations - then provide the services and solutions that meet their needs.

``At the same time, we need to work with local and central Government along with their agencies to effect positive change for our members and New Zealand. This agreement gives National Road Carriers and NZ Trucking the mandate to achieve this.’’

James Smith, chief operating officer of NRC believes the industry no longer needs to present a single voice on issues.

“Governments, not just ours but around the world, stopped listening to single voices quite some time ago. There are advantages to a chorus of voices,’’ he says.

``As an example, we had 118 voices including the EMA, Chamber of Commerce and Contractors on the call with ministers Wood and Clark over Covid-19 border restrictions. If we’d had a single voice, do you think we would have got saliva testing? No, we wouldn’t have.

``The single voice argument is stale. If something is a good idea the best way is to have multiple voices,’’ Smith says.

``Both the NRC and NZTA have very strong connections with government, of whatever colour. So, is the industry going to suffer by not having a single voice? No.’’

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