Good news for car owners - fees drop

Car registration costs will fall from around $195 to $130, the second consecutive annual decrease. Photo /  Jason Oxenham
Car registration costs will fall from around $195 to $130, the second consecutive annual decrease. Photo / Jason Oxenham

Motorists will pay $65 less for car registration fees as part of a raft of changes which come into effect tomorrow.

July 1 is the implementation date for a number of Government policies, including ACC motor vehicle levy changes, new Pharmac funding, and the removal of restrictions to using Kiwisaver to buy a home.

Car registration costs will fall from around $195 to $130, the second consecutive annual decrease.

The changes applied to drivers of light vehicles - cars, vans, utes and SUVs - and would save New Zealanders around $218 million in total.

New melanoma and Hepatitis C drugs will become available as a result of a funding boost to bulk-buying agency Pharmac.

Budget 2016 allocated a further $124 million over four years to the agency, which is funding melanoma drug Opdivo and two new drugs for people with Hepatitis C.

The maximum paid parental leave rates will rise from $516 to $527 before tax. That comes after paid leave entitlements were raised from 14 weeks to 18 weeks on April 1.

A bid by the Labour Party to extend paid parental leave further, to 26 weeks, was vetoed by Finance Minister Bill English last night, despite having majority support in Parliament.

As of tomorrow, income limits for Kiwisaver are being removed for "second chance" homebuyers.

At present, only first-home buyers and people who have previously bought property but have low assets and earnings have been allowed to access their Kiwisaver funds to buy a house.

The income limit is $120,000 for a couple and $80,000 for an individual.

In announcing the policy change in April, the Government said it would help middle-aged people who have had a relationship breakup or a business failure to get back into the housing market.

July 1 is also the implementation date for the first part of the Government's mandatory requirements for rental properties.

Housing Minister Nick Smith said today that they were the biggest changes to tenancy laws in 30 years and would affect 450,000 homes.

Landlords must have installed a smoke alarm in their properties by tomorrow, and most will have to install insulation within three years.

Among the other changes coming into effect tomorrow are new grants for homeless people to get into emergency housing - a policy announced ahead of the Budget.

Prime Minister John Key said today that the various investments were made possible by a strong economy.

"Because of the National-led Government's careful handling of its finances, we now have choices and options that we didn't have eight years ago," he said.

- NZ Herald

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