The Motor Trade Association says the Government's new changes to the country's vehicle testing system are a causing a ‘double blow for motorists.'
The new wof changes are being dubbed a 'double blow' for motorists.
While providing the appearance of saving time and money, the changes may in fact increase costs and the risks to motorists, while at the same time lead to the loss of more than 2,000 jobs from within the automotive industry according to MTA.
The key changes to the warrant of fitness system include an initial inspection for new cars, followed by annual inspections once vehicles are three years old, annual inspections for vehicles three years and older and first registered on or after January 1 2000; six-monthly inspections for vehicles first registered before January 1 2000 including information and education to increase people's awareness of regular vehicle maintenance and extra police enforcement activities.
The new changes are expected to come into force in July next year.
MTA says under the proposal put forward by Associate Minister of Transport Simon Bridges earlier today, motorists will only require six-monthly checks for vehicles registered after January 1 2000.
The new changes mean the majority of the fleet will move to 12-monthly WoF inspections. A double blow for motorists, says MTA.
MTA spokesperson Ian Stronach says the opportunity for Vehicle Licensing Reform providing New Zealand with a unique opportunity to bring meaningful change to a range of key elements of the wider licensing system has been deferred.
“Instead we have a piecemeal deconstruction of the vehicle inspection regime that has served and protected motorists well for many years.”
With inspections for vehicles 13 years and newer, to be required every 12 months, Ian says many vehicles will now be travelling twice the distance and going twice as long before undergoing the minimum safety check.
He says many drivers rely on safety checks as their primary safety and operational assurance.
“In an automotive environment like ours, that is too long and too far. Minor repairs will turn into major work, negating any theoretical savings.”
Ian says New Zealand's fleet is old and ageing rapidly, and the Government's preferred option provides little real confidence that enforcement and educational capability will be properly increased to manage the risks.
“Surely the onus must be on improving safety levels, not eroding them.
“Even recently released research, co-sponsored by the New Zealand Transport Agency, casts doubt on the likely outcome and cost of the changes being proposed.
“If the so called experts aren't sure of what might happen, why are we pushing ahead?”
“At a time when Government is looking for ways to reduce costs to motorists it has been quite prepared to increase fuel taxes and advise that they will continue to rise in the coming years.
“It seems that it's quite prepared to reduce costs for motorists as long as it doesn't affect Government income.”
Ian says the Government could have streamlined New Zealand's cumbersome annual licensing process, made individual motorists more accountable for the risks they represent and improved the integrity of the existing inspection process.
“Instead they are selling this reform to New Zealanders on the back of the potential that they can save themselves around $50 a year.”
He says having to carry out fewer inspections will mean some providers will simply opt out of the business, meaning some motorists will have to travel further and take more time to have an inspection carried out.
“It will also only add to the jobless total, while pushing more skilled people out of the industry.
“The Government seems obsessed with the principle that, because New Zealand's inspection regime is unique, it needs to be changed.
“That's a very narrow view which they don't apply consistently. Ultimately, this decision sells all New Zealanders short.”