My question relates to the status of legal tender in New Zealand. When I went to Tournament Parking's Stanley St car park a couple of months ago, I was informed that they accepted payment for parking only by Eftpos. There was no sign stating this on the booth, and the attendant said this was "company policy". I understood that banknotes, as I offered them a $10 note, were legal tender, which I thought meant that they had to be accepted for payment of services. Can you advise if this has been changed, or if I have misunderstood the concept of "legal tender"?

James Appleby, Auckland.

I spoke to Dale Clements, general manager of Tournament Parking, and he said that you may pay by cash at the Stanley St car park, and there is a machine there to facilitate this. When I went for a look, it appears that the machine accepts only coins, not notes.

At the machine you can also pay by credit card. If you prefer to pay by Eftpos, the attendant can help you with this.

Legal tender is defined by the Reserve Bank as the tender (or offer) of payment that, by law, cannot effectively be refused in settlement of a debt denominated in the same currency.

I did a bit of research and found a very interesting online article on the concepts of payment and what constitutes legal tender in New Zealand.


The article goes on at some length but it's a jolly good read. You can find it here.

A new question about warrants of fitness. I presume I can take my car in for a warrant as early before the due date as I want, but what happens if it fails? Is the old warrant still valid until its expiry date? Obviously, safety things need doing straight away but what if it's just a park light bulb or something? I can't find anything on the NZTA website.

Gary Brown, Auckland.

At my local VTNZ station, the woman at the counter said that even if you fail your warrant, you may still drive your car if the sticker is current. The Transport Agency and the AA disagree.

The NZTA website states it is illegal to drive a vehicle that does not meet warrant of fitness requirements. So even though your warrant has not expired, if you fail a new test then you may not use your vehicle on the road unless you are taking it to be fixed or to get a new warrant, and it is safe to do so.

AA motoring policy team leader Mark Stockdale says that a vehicle must meet WoF standards every day it is on the road. If it has failed a WoF then it is not safe to be driven on the road, irrespective of the expiry date.

An example would be if the WoF sticker has not expired but one of your tyres is bald - the fact the WoF has not expired doesn't mean the vehicle is sufficiently safe to be driven on the road.

In the case of a broken park light, the vehicle would be safe to be driven to a place of repair as per the NZTA website answer.