13 Aug 2012

Ag vehicle rule changes meet with approval

7:00 am on 13 August 2012

Rural contractors and farmers are relieved at changes the Government is proposing for the simplification of operating rules for agricultural vehicles.

A review last year looked at the laws regarding the more than 40,000 registered agricultural vehicles in New Zealand, because of concerns they do not take into account the special nature of the vehicles and the demands on production.

Associate Transport Minister Simon Bridges says the Government will establish a two-tier system for agricultural vehicles based on a 40km/h speed limit.

Vehicles operating below that speed will be exempt from warrants of fitness and work-time requirements.

Federated Farmers describes the changes as common-sense moves that will make compliance straightforward and easy to understand, without compromising road safety.

Rural Contractors Federation executive director Roger Parton says the federation is also generally satisfied with the changes, which will remove a lot of variations that depended on things like the purpose of the journey and how far a person was from base.

Mr Parton says it will be one rule depending on whether the vehicle operates above or below 40km/h.

"Generally speaking rural contractors are very happy with the proposals," he says.

"There are one or two issues which have been the subject of debate, one of which is whether the 40km/h speed limit should be 50, but by and large I think the majority are comfortable with the proposals that have been approved by Cabinet."

Mr Parton says there are still issues with driver licensing and road-user charges relating to tractors.