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Government Drives Vehicle Sales Bill

15 November 2001

This Government is committed to a better deal for people buying cars and support for motor vehicle dealers who protect consumers.

Consumer Affairs Minister Jim Anderton and Commerce Minister Paul Swain tabled today in Parliament the Motor Vehicle Sales Bill.

“The current Motor Vehicle Dealers Act 1975 is outdated, overly prescriptive, and no longer meets the needs of consumers or the industry. A particular problem was that the restrictions, costs and procedures created a strong incentive for traders to evade the law. These dealers could avoid their obligations under consumer law, such as the Consumer Guarantees Act. Insignificant levels of enforcement made this a low risk way to operate”, said Paul Swain.

“The key features of the new Bill include the establishment of a registration system covering all motor vehicle traders, the ability to ban unsuitable persons from involvement in the trade, accurate information on which consumers can base their decisions, credible and accessible redress through reform of the Motor Vehicle Disputes Tribunal, strong incentives for compliance by traders, and considerably strengthened enforcement,” said Jim Anderton.

“By establishing a more simplified and less onerous registration system covering aIl persons who are in the business of trading in motor vehicles including car market operators, car auctioneers, wholesalers and importers we will be extending the coverage of the law to all motor vehicle sales, except private sales.

“Compliance costs for existing licensed traders will be reduced and spread across the industry.

“The Bill also contains provisions to remove unsuitable people from the trade and ensure that inappropriate persons are prevented from entering the industry.

“Enforcement is significantly strengthened and there will be increased penalties for unregistered trading. A dedicated enforcement unit will be established in the Operations Branch of the Ministry of Economic Development”, said Paul Swain.

“Money owing on vehicles from previous owners must be disclosed in the new window card. Failure to do so will make the registered seller liable for any undisclosed security interests. All persons acting in trade must be registered and these safeguards will provide an increased significant protection for consumers,” said Jim Anderton.

Jim Anderton said, “A new Consumer Information Standard will require better information to be provided than the current window notice including a statement as to whether there is money owing on the car.

“All traders offering vehicles for sale in trade, all sellers at car fairs including private sellers and auctioneers will be required to display the notice attached to the window of the card.

“The Ministry of Consumer Affairs has recently consulted on the proposed content for the Standard. It is intended that it will come into force on the same date as the bill” said Jim Anderton.

“This Bill will do much to promote a better market for the trade in motor vehicles. It will benefit honest vehicle dealers and all car buyers”, said Paul Swain.

The Bill will be sent to the Commerce Select Committee after its first reading. A copy of the Bill is available from Bennetts Government Bookshop.

Ends

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