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ACT Calls for Urgent Frontal Impact Inquiry

ACT Transport Spokesman MP Penny Webster today wrote to the chairman of the Regulation Review Select Committee, calling for an inquiry into new frontal impact rules.

Mrs Webster asked Doug Kidd to launch a select committee inquiry immediately.

"The Minister of Transport's requirement that all imported vehicles meet new frontal impact standards means that most vehicles manufactured before 1996 will no longer be able to be imported.

"The impact of these regulations will increase the cost of older vehicles by up to $4000 according to advice to the Minister of Transport from LTSA. These cars are going to be pushed out of reach for many low-income earners. The only winners will be new and late-model vehicles dealers.

"Small, handmade marques such as TVR and Lamborghini are not fitted with airbags, so they will be ineligible for import.

"The Minister of Transport's own department suggests it is incorrect to assume these expensive rules will increase safety one iota. The age of New Zealand vehicles will rise, and older vehicles will dangerously remain on our roads for longer.

"The imported vehicle fleet would have met the rules naturally by 2008.

"There seems little justification for the rules. In Australia and the United States, such rules were used as an artificial tariff to protect the local vehicle manufacture industry. New Zealand no longer has such an industry, and even if it did, these rules would not be desirable. In many parts of the United States, passengers do not have to wear seatbelts, which is why airbags were vital. This is not the case in New Zealand.

"An urgent inquiry is needed. The safety justification for these rules is questionable. But they will certainly cost jobs, businesses and the opportunity for working-class New Zealanders to own a decent vehicle," Mrs Webster said.


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