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Vehicle licensing review must get its priorities right

28 March 2012

Vehicle licensing review must get its priorities right

Motor Trade Association (MTA) says the government’s announcement today that it intends looking at reforms to deliver a “simpler and more efficient vehicle licensing system” have been well signalled to the industry and come as no surprise.

MTA spokesperson Ian Stronach says “We have been aware for some time now that government intends to look closely at potential changes in these areas. They have made no secret of the fact that they see potential savings and efficiencies, however it is an area that needs careful scrutiny if any improvements are to have a long term benefit.”

Government’s rationale is that these reforms have the potential to save millions of dollars in unnecessary costs and time for households, businesses and the government. While it’s also been signalled that safety will remain a key priority in considering any changes, MTA is concerned that any inspection process should take into account New Zealand’s unique motoring environment and that safety is the upmost priority.

“We appreciate the need to operate systems and processes as efficiently as possible, but there are things about our market that need to be taken in to account. With an average age of more than 13 years, and getting older all the time, New Zealand’s national fleet is old by first world standards, we would expect the potential risks that come with that to figure in government’s thinking,” says Stronach.

In its 2011 Vehicle Servicing and Compliance Survey, MTA found that around nine percent of all light vehicles surveyed had no current warrant of fitness (WoF). This equates to around a quarter of a million cars, vans and utes on the road without a WoF, potentially some of which are not in a roadworthy condition. The survey also highlighted the low rate of vehicle maintenance undertaken by some drivers, with some incorrectly assuming a WoF inspection is the same thing as a service.

MTA believes that there is an opportunity for government to also look at wider transport issues such as environmental and health costs and will be encouraging them to do so when we meet with them.

While MTA is all in favour of efficiencies, any outcome that too strongly takes into account economic gains, could end up proving more costly in terms of public safety – with this cost is likely to fall on the government.

ENDS

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