Are your Road User Charges payments up to date? That's the simple message behind a NZ Transport Agency campaign starting this week (1 May) in Northland urging owners of diesel fuelled vehicles to keep payments of their Road User Charges (RUC) up to date.
Outstanding RUC payments in Northland total more than $1.4m, and the NZTA is encouraging owners to keep payments up to date to avoid penalties that could amount to three times the amount overdue.
The high level of non or late payment of RUCs in the region is especially prevalent among the owners of light diesel vehicles, such as cars, utes, sports utilities and small trucks says Andy Thackwray, the Regional Manager in Northland and Auckland for Access and Use - the NZTA's regulatory group.
"It's important that people who drive diesel vehicles keep their RUC payments up to avoid the risk of ever- increasing charges and fines if they fail to display an up to date Road User Charge label on their vehicles."
Mr Thackwray says collecting RUC is a matter of equity and fairness for all road users.
"The funds collected through Road User Charges go directly to building and maintaining New Zealand's roads. Well maintained roads help provide for a safer system and a safer journey by reducing the risk of crashes and injuries for all road users. The owners of petrol powered vehicles pay their share at the pump through fuel excise charges that are included in the cost of petrol," says Mr Thackwray.
Because of the large number of off-road diesel engines like tractors, generators and engines on boats, there are no additional charges on diesel at the pump. Owners of diesel-fuelled vehicles instead are required to purchase a Road User Charge licence.
The NZTA is responsible for collecting Road User Charges, which can be purchased from NZTA agents such as NZ Post, AA, VTNZ and VINZ centres. RUC labels must be displayed on a vehicle's windscreen.
The education campaign running until May 17 will make use of radio and newspaper advertisements, with some additional information provided to the NZTA's local agencies. Following the campaign, the NZTA may pursue court action for persistent late or non payers.
"We want to ensure that people are aware of their obligations and encourage voluntary payment. If owners have a real difficulty in paying outstanding amounts, we may be able to help with an easier payment schedule. But it's important that people with unpaid RUC take action - before it becomes a major cost, Mr Thackwray says.
Mr Thackwray also warns that since the Road User Charges are specific to the registered vehicle, not the owner, vehicle buyers should be careful to check whether the Road User Charges for the vehicle are up to date at the time of the sale by checking the RUC label on the vehicle's windscreen.
For more information about road user charges and how to pay them, phone 0508 UP2DATE (0508 872 3283). Payments can also be made to a number of NZTA agencies throughout the country.