In a move to reduce compliance costs for vehicle owners, the Ministry of Transport (MOT) and New Zealand Transport Agency (NZTA) are undertaking a review of New Zealand's vehicle licensing system.
The reform, which Federated Farmers is involved with, is in line with the Government's "better regulation, less regulation" strategy.
The current licensing rules have been in place for 30 years and MOT and NZTA are determining whether they are still relevant.
The reform has been split into three parts: Annual Vehicle Licensing (AVL), Transport Service Licenses (TSL) and the warrant and certificate of fitness systems (WOF/COF).
At present vehicle owners are required to license their vehicle annually. The AVL can be purchased in one go or broken into smaller increments. It includes the annual Accident Compensation Corporation (ACC) motor vehicle levy, which makes up about 69 per cent of a petrol vehicle's annual license, $287.75, and about 75 per cent of a diesel vehicle's annual license, $417.61.
Federated Farmers wants the ACC levy taken out of the Annual Vehicle License fee and collected elsewhere.
Both MOT and NZTA are considering this option.
NZTA and MOT are also considering whether there is still a need for TSLs. There are three types of TSLs: goods service, passenger service and a vehicle recovery TSL. These were introduced to ensure transport operators understand health and safety requirements and to enable NZTA to remove bad operators.
In practice this has not happened. It has proven extremely difficult to bar a company from operating. Instances of misconduct are difficult to prove and even harder to tie to one person. In some cases barred operators got another TSL under a different name.
As a result, Federated Farmers believes TSLs may be an unnecessary bureaucratic imposition. There are plenty of other systems, such as motor vehicle registration, driving licensing and the operator rating system (ORS), WOFs and COFs, allowing police and NZTA to identify and discipline poor operators.
At present small vehicles over six years old need to get a WOF every six months and larger vehicles and passenger service vehicles require a COF every six months. NZTA and MOT are considering reducing the frequency of both licenses.
Road safety is important and farmers running older vehicles requiring COFs sometimes rely on six-monthly checks to ensure their vehicles are safe. Moves to change the frequency of checks will need careful consideration.
Federated Farmers is also concerned that reducing the frequency of checks may reduce the viability of rural service centres and testing stations.
This reform has the potential to affect anyone who owns a vehicle. A discussion document detailing the proposed changes is due to be released later this month for public consultation. Federated Farmers will seek its members' views to inform its submission.
Government is expected to make a final decision in December.