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Forcing Low Income Families To Loan Sharks

Media Release

22 February 2002

CAR IMPORT CHANGES WILL FORCE LOW INCOME FAMILIES TO LOAN SHARKS AND COST LIVES--BROWN

New Zealand First Transport Spokesman, Peter Brown MP, has harsh criticism of the decision to effectively ban the import of cars manufactured before 1996.

Transport Minister Mark Gosche announced this week that changes to import regulations requiring all imports to meet new front impact standards. By the Minister's own estimate, this will push up the cost of second hand cars $4000 on average-putting them out of the reach of low income families.

"This is great news for loan sharks. Already most low income families buy their cars on hire purchase through finance companies, once the cost goes up $4000 then they will have two choices: keep vehicles beyond their use-by date or go to loan sharks, since finance companies will not cover them," said Mr Brown

"The result is that we will see more and more unroad-worthy and unsafe cars on the roads. The result will be people dying in these bombs, and possibly kill others.

"These regulations seem to be a soft option and an ill-considered one. The minister has said that 4.7 lives a year will be saved by the changed regulations, but that ignores the fact that many more lives will be lost because of unsafe cars. This alone is reason to further investigate this matter further.

"This is also a double blow for motorists who already face a $600 million petrol tax hike. None of this money will go into transport or roading, despite the fact that the 1996 'Better Roads' report concluded that 15.5% of all accidents occur because of poorly designed roads. This Government's priorities are in these superficial car imports regulations, which are designed to give the false impression that they are doing something on transport.

"My advice to the minister is to rethink this rule or lose his credibility entirely," concluded Mr Brown.

ENDS


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