Freight companies warn Kiwis to brace for higher prices as Government rolls back transport relief package

Freight companies are warning Kiwis to brace for even higher prices at supermarket tills.

That's because trucking firms will start paying increased road user charges from January 31 as the Government rolls back its transport relief package. And it's Kiwi consumers who'll wear the costs.

Fresh produce - think it's expensive now? You could be in for a shock. The country's truckies are about to be charged more to drive, and guess who pays?

"Of course, it goes onto the goods that are carried so this will seep into people's lives almost immediately," said Trucking NZ CEO Nick Leggett.

From January 31 road user charges will increase 36 percent as the Government's post-COVID transport support package is rolled back.

Transporting NZ told Newshub a 45-tonne truck travelling 100,000km per year will pay up to $21,000 more in road users annually.

And since 93 percent of freight travels by road, Kiwis will wear the increased costs.

"Trucking companies are going to have to oncharge these increased road user charges to stay in business," Leggett said.

Freight companies say now's not the time to end the discounted road user charges, especially when the Russia-Ukraine war is already making fuel prices volatile.

"The 36 percent of road user charges is probably off-setting what might otherwise come through in fuel," said Blake Noble.

It's the first of what'll be a double whammy for Kiwi commuters in the coming months, when public transport fares will be back at full price and 25c/litre fuel excise cuts will disappear.

And even with tax relief we currently have in place, some can't afford to drive.

"My car has been parked at home for a couple of weeks, I have to walk to work, I can't even drive it," one person said.

"It's a massive weight on my household budget, it's probably one of the biggest along with food," another added.

"It's just ridiculous and I think a lot of it has been due to various Government policies," a third added.

But don't expect a U-turn, Transport Minister Michael Wood has given no indication the transport discounts will be extended.

Wood's office sent an old press release in response to Newshub's questions on Monday, then failed to respond to a further request for comment.