Author(s): Jenny Haworth
Imagine a world where there's no truck at the door to move your possessions, where the supermarket shelves are empty because deliveries to the door have stopped, where there are no trucks to help in times of crisis. It's impossible for the modern society to function without road transport. The industry has, however, fought a long, hard battle to reduce overwhelming government control. From the 1930s all trucks needed a licence to operate; this meant that there were long legal battles to increase the size of any fleet. After World War II preference was given to returned servicemen and the local owner-driver served his own area and did not have the trucks or the right to carry goods beyond a 40 mile radius. Transport over longer distances was reserved for the railways. Gradually the exemptions were introduced and the distance goods could be carried against rail was extended until it was finally abolished in the 1980s. But until then trucking companies became very innovative in the way that they could get around these restrictions. After the industry was freed from many of the out of date regulations in the 1980s, including restrictive licensing, their focus turned to ways of making trucks safer and more efficient. The battle with the unions to improve pay is a crucial element in the story, as are the battles with the government for a fairer deal. Government and the industry worked together for safer roads. One of the worst problems - logging truck roll - was solved by the research undertaken by the industry. The development of the road transport industry is a complex one. It mirrors the development of the country moving from localised services to those that cover the country. Road's the Mode will intrigue and fascinate as it reveals the history of this major industry. It shows clearly the relationship between the various governments and the industry and the way this impacts on every aspect of our life.
Jenny Haworth is a well-known non-fiction writer. After a career as a journalist and travel writer she moved onto longer projects particularly those associated with an industry. Her three books on the fishing industry, Hooked: The Story of the New Zealand fishing industry (which she completed for the late David Johnson), Tides of Change: The Story of the New Zealand Federation of Commercial Fishermen, and Swimming Upstream: How salmon farming developed in New Zealand are all highly regarded. She has also produced a major study on New Zealand's World War II commissioned artists, The Art of War. She is also a novelist. Hobsons' Chance, Lost Souls and The Undone Years have been well received and are currently in the hands of international agents. She is currently working on a history of the Canterbury Club in Christchurch.