10 Feb 2011

Restrictions on work hours eased for rural contractors

7:36 am on 10 February 2011

Rural contractors have gained some relief on rules governing working hours, after years of battling restrictive regulations covering the use of agricultural vehicles.

Transport regulations were changed in 2007 restricting operators of agricultural vehicles to a 13 hour day.

Rural Contractors New Zealand executive director Roger Parton says that has been impossible to comply with because contractors have to have the flexibility to harvest crops when they are ready and when the weather permits.

Contractors will now be able to apply to the Transport Agency for a variation to the rule, allowing them to work for up to 18 hours in one stretch with appropriate rest breaks.

The work needing to be done must be agricultural and be dependent on the crop being ready and the weather being appropriate.

Roger Parton says the variation to the work time rule will be reviewed in six months to see how well it is going.

Work is also continuing through the Agricultural Transport Forum on a raft of other restrictions on agricultural vehicle use that rural contractors want changed.