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Massive opposition to government data charges

Massive opposition to government data charges

Many leading consumer and business groups have joined forces to oppose government charges for vehicle registration data. This information is currently provided free to many users.

The Dog & Lemon Guide , Consumer New Zealand, the Association of Market Research Organisations and the Sustainable Business Network have joined a number of major motor industry groups in opposing the proposed charges. This group includes Repco, Turners Auctions, multiple insurance companies, finance companies and automotive computer companies.

At present, registration information is provided free from the New Zealand Transport Agency’s computers. This information is widely used in the motor trade to check basic facts about a vehicle.

NZTA proposes to charge for access to the NZTA computer. Although the charges appear small, due to the huge number of transactions involved, these charges will earn the government millions of dollars every year.

The government is claiming that the proposed charges will be as little as 2 cents, but the 2 cent fee is for information supplied the next day. Immediate online access will be 16 cents per transaction.

Critics of the proposal believe that it’s in the public interest to maintain free access to the NZTA computers. Thanks to the provision of free information, consumers are currently able to check, for example, whether a car they are buying is legally registered and has a legitimate Warrant of Fitness.

Critics of the proposal also claim that the proposed charges grossly exceed the costs of supplying the information.

Dog & Lemon Guide editor Clive Matthew-Wilson says:

“The government needs to realise that information is the best protection against car fraud. There are a lot of dodgy people selling cars in this country, including a large number of illegal car dealers. Consumers need the ability to quickly check a vehicle’s basic details before they purchase it. There are already paid services providing this information, but many people can’t pay online because they don’t have a credit card. We urge the government to back away from this proposal.”

Consumer NZ spokesman Hamish Wilson says:

“The consumer already paid for this information through vehicle registration fees. They shouldn’t have to pay twice for the same information.”

An online petition opposing the data charges has already generated over 12,000 signatures, while concerned individuals have sent over 3000 emails to the minister of transport.

The list of groups opposing the proposed charges includes:

Avanti Finance
Carjam Online Limited
Consumer New Zealand
Dog and Lemon Guide
Geneva Finance
Instant Finance
Repco Limited
The Association of Market Research Organisations (AMRO)
The Sustainable Business Network
Toyota Finance
Technology Solutions for Industry (TSI Group)
Turners Auctions Limited

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