Reprieve Granted On Tractor Labeling

Published online: Sep 22, 2005
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New Zealand growers have won a reprieve from rules forcing them to label tractors and trailers with information on towing capacity.

Federated Farmers of New Zealand transport spokesmand Hugh Ritchie said the new rules were due to take effect Oct. 1 but after an approach by the federation, the New Zealand Police agreed there was a problem with the rules and "they won't be a focus of enforcement officers' attention at this time."

"The federation believes the new rules are impractical and, in some cases, compliance is impossible," Ritchie said. "The information required to be displayed was neither available nor relevant for most equipment. The federation also believes the rule served no useful purpose for drivers of agricultural equipment or for Police.

"Here's an example of why the rules don't work: the recommended tractor to pull a 15 tonne loaded silage wagon is 150 horsepower. The tractor's manufacturer stipulates the tractor's towing capacity in terms of the total weight its towing connection can pull as though the trailer was being lifted off the ground. For a 150hp tractor, this capacity is 11.5 tonnes.

"Under the rules, the driver would be breaking the law. But we are not comparing apples with apples because you don't need to be able to lift 15 tonnes to safely tow a 15 tonne trailer. Clearly, the rules are flawed.