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Government must sort out loophole immediately

10 June 2004

Government must sort out car registration/ownership loophole immediately

The TVNZ Fair Go team demonstrated last night how easy it is for anyone to walk in off the street and obtain vehicle transfer of ownership papers without the lawful owner's knowledge or consent. This will have been extremely alarming for the millions of genuine vehicle owners.

While such events are rare, the AA must insist, on behalf of its over 1 million members, that the Government closes this fundamental loophole with all urgency. Although such papers may not officially confer actual legal ownership they create such an appearance of ownership as to greatly facilitate the possible perpetration of fraud. With tens of thousands of cars stolen each year car theft is enough of an industry as it is without the motor vehicle register being open to the potential of systematic abuse by car thieves.

In this era of instant electronic communication, it is hard to comprehend why the Police's computers have not been set up to alert the motor vehicle registration system as soon as a vehicle is reported stolen, thus stopping a thief from obtaining transfer of ownership papers. At the same time the Police should be notified of the attempt to change the ownership record. It should also be relatively simple matter to tighten proof of identification requirements to ensure the seller has indeed sold the vehicle.


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