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Proposed car security measures a mixed blessing

Media Release

For Immediate Release
12 January 2005

Proposed car security measures a mixed blessing

The new vehicle industry is not rushing to embrace the Government’s Vehicle Crime Reduction Programme, launched by Justice Minister Phil Goff today. “The mandatory introduction of immobilisers and Whole of Vehicle Marking (datadots) will certainly have an effect on vehicle crime but we need to be aware of the downside,” said Motor Industry Association CEO Perry Kerr.

“Almost all new vehicles sold in New Zealand are already fitted with immobilisers, and their compulsory fitment to imported used vehicles will have a significant impact on the incidence of opportunistic vehicle theft,” said Mr. Kerr. “Whilst this will be a step in the right direction we need to be alert to overseas experience which suggests that when the correct key is vital to the operation of the vehicle, an increase in carjacking and home invasion is the likely outcome.”

The MIA is not enthusiastic about compulsory introduction of Whole of Vehicle Marking, for a number of reasons. “No other country has legislated for this technology across-the-board, so we would be leading the world into a new area,” said Mr. Kerr. “We believe that officials have grossly underestimated the cost at $100 per vehicle – at present the retail price of datadot application is between $350 and $500. Whatever the cost, the insurance industry should be leading this initiative by offering significant discounts to vehicle owners to recognise the effectiveness of the technology. There would also have to be a significant investment in infrastructure in order to apply this technology post-importation.”

The new vehicle industry is pleased about one aspect of the programme. “The extra cost of these measures will have an effect on the importation of older, lower-value vehicles into New Zealand, and this can only have a beneficial effect on the age profile and safety standard of the vehicle fleet.”

ENDS

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