The spate of log truck accidents in Northland highlight the need for the government to have a balanced transport policy that includes rail, and in addition provides specialist training for local drivers and a much greater allocation of funding to improve the roads, according to the New Zealand First political party. Sources: Timberbiz, Scoop NZ
“There’s a chronic shortage of drivers and it is disappointing that Northland firms are bringing drivers in from Fiji and the Philippines,” said New Zealand First Leader and Northland Member of Parliament the Hon Winston Peters.
“Several training courses are available in Northland but specialist training for driving big logging rigs is urgently needed,” he said.
“What is required from the government is a real understanding of Northland’s needs.
“For example, why didn’t Minister of Economic Development Steven Joyce make provision for this training in his Northland Regional Action Plan earlier this year?
“It’s practical measures like this that will get and keep Northlanders in jobs, and that’s what Northland families want.
“The shortage of skilled drivers is made worse by the horrendous state of many of the roads on which the log trucks travel.
“Since 2009 the government has cut funding for rural roads.
“They should provide rural roading support subsidies and ensure specialist log truck driver training is available in Northland.”