“We are all suffering” - Truck drivers continue to struggle under lockdown restrictions

By Mare Haimona-Riki

Some truck drivers continue to feel the brunt of the level 4 safety restrictions in their day to day mahi. Auckland based produce driver Royston Seymour (Ngāti Tūwharetoa) says that his workdays have been extended by 2-3 hours.

Seymour says the difficulties start right off the bat, having to wait up to two hours at the loading bay, just to collect his keys and receive the manifest from dispatch. 

“I have to line up behind 30 other drivers, with a two-metre gap in between. Only to find out that my paperwork isn’t ready. So I have to go to the back of the line again, and that puts me behind by two to three hours every day. 

“It's just not working. It's not working for me and it’s not working for a lot of drivers, we are all suffering,” Seymour says. 

Recycled fat and oil driver Atama Frost (Ngāti Maniapoto) has found it difficult to find bathrooms on his routes and has noticed a definite increase in hours due to higher demand in his industry.

"I have found it hard to find a wharepaku available, and travelling up north, I’ve found no places for us truckies to eat.

“Drivers I spoke to are spending more time on the road due to demand…. our company DFO is the only branch operating in the North Island,” Frost says. 

Land and Transport Forum CEO, Nick Legget says they have been in contact with trucking agencies regarding the welfare of truck drivers across the country.

“We’ve asked trucking operators to keep the welfare of their staff in their thoughts.... to ensure they are mentally well, checking in with how things are at home.

"We’ve also talked to the large fuel companies about petrol stations, and a lot of those have opened for basic kai and some of them have opened their toilets as well. But I acknowledge we are not 100% on that,” Legget says.