Rebecca Quilliam

Rebecca Quilliam is senior reporter at the APNZ News Service office in Wellington.

Let vehicle licensing be: Analyst

Govt says review could save households and businesses millions in costs and time

What's under the hood might not be checked as often. Photo / Thinkstock
What's under the hood might not be checked as often. Photo / Thinkstock

The Government is calling for public submissions on streamlining the vehicle licensing system, but an industry analyst believes any changes could endanger motorists.

Associate Transport Minister Simon Bridges said the current systems have been in place for decades and affected every vehicle owner and driver.

"So we need to be sure the rationale for all of these [systems] are still clear and justified."

Reform had the potential to save millions of dollars in costs and time for households, businesses and the Government, Mr Bridges said.

"In relation to the warrant of fitness system, for example, New Zealand's vehicle [testing] frequency is higher than most other OECD countries.

"Around $245 million each year is paid in inspection fees and the time spent getting a [warrant of fitness] is estimated as worth $100 million, but it is unclear whether this results in fewer crashes caused by vehicle faults."

Mr Bridges said there was also possibly too high a reliance on a WoF check as a substitute for vehicle maintenance. Any changes made to the system would have similar or higher safety outcomes than the current system, he said.

But Dog and Lemon Guide motoring editor Clive Matthew-Wilson said the proposed changes would not help the average motorist.

"Most motorists are perfectly comfortable with the system as it is."

A Motor Industry Association survey last month found more than 60 per cent of New Zealand drivers feared that changes to licensing regulations would mean fewer WoF checks, which would compromise road safety.

"New Zealand ... has one of the oldest vehicle fleets in the world. We need the security of these tests," Mr Matthew-Wilson said.

Submissions can be made via the Ministry of Transport's website until the end of October.

In the headlights

The Vehicle Licensing Reform project, jointly led by the Ministry of Transport and the NZ

Transport Agency, is looking at ways to refine:
* warrants of fitness and certificates of fitness.
* annual vehicle licensing (or registration).
* transport services licensing.

- APNZ

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