Road user charges review released

  • Steven Joyce

Transport Minister Steven Joyce today released the report of the independent review of road user charges (RUC).

The report was commissioned by the previous government in August 2008.

Mr Joyce says there is significant industry interest in the RUC review and its release will ensure affected parties are able to consider it fully and make their views known.

"There are some 32 recommendations. A number are very significant and it's important to ensure any changes are workable for affected road users."

A key recommendation is that the current RUC system is retained for diesel vehicles, rather than moving to a diesel tax, because of costs that a diesel tax would impose on non-transport users. In concert with that, the review group advocates moving towards an electronic RUC collection system and making other administrative changes to reduce compliance costs.

Mr Joyce says some recommendations require more work, including those around delineation between road related costs and non-road related costs.

"Other recommendations - like the proposed road network access fee (which would replace the annual licence fee) for all vehicles - are simply not tenable and are unlikely to proceed."

The proposed road network access fee would treble the cost of licensing vehicles over time, with some off-set in user charges and petrol tax.

Mr Joyce says the charge would be an unfair imposition on those who drive only a small amount each year.

"Overall, the report covers a complex area of the transport system and the recommendations of the review would significantly change the way costs are allocated between heavy and light vehicles.

"I've asked officials for further advice on the workability of the recommendations and expect to receive this by June."

Mr Joyce says any significant changes will need to go through the Cabinet and legislative processes which means they will be some way off.

"The report also recommended six weeks notice is given for any future increases in RUC rates. I agree with this in principle and will be working to see this recommendation implemented."

Mr Joyce thanked the members of the Review Group for their work, which involved comprehensive consultation with affected parties.