Cars registered as farm vehicles reportedly paying $50 compared with $280 and ACC says it leaves sour taste

Motorists are evading hundreds of dollars in vehicle licensing fees by incorrectly registering their cars as farm vehicles.

It follows the revelation earlier this week that hundreds of drivers were falsely registering their cars as ambulances to save more than $200 in fees.

Other categories, including farm vehicles, also pay reduced fees, which one testing station owner says is being exploited by some drivers of Remuera tractors.

Farm vehicles fall under the Class B category, which are exempt from paying ACC levies, fuel excise and excise duty.


The classification relates to vehicles which are designed for agricultural operations and have restricted use on public roads. Alan Parker, who owns a vehicle testing station in Auckland's eastern suburbs, said he often sees cars with central Auckland addresses come into the testing station for a Warrant of Fitness that are registered as farm vehicles.

"When we go to enter them into the system we get red flags come up about these vehicles," he said.

"A farm vehicle sometimes doesn't need a warrant, so we override it and we tell the system we're inspecting them as private vehicles."

Such customers were typically from wealthy suburbs, he said.

"There's so many up in Remuera that are registered as farm vehicles, Toyota [Land Cruiser] Prados and that," he said. "And maybe these people do legitimately own farms, but they're not legitimately using that vehicle for farm use. It gives the name the Remuera tractor a new slant."

Other customers were struggling beneficiaries, he said.

"Sometimes I can't blame them for doing it because they've got nothing, and at least they're not picking up a $250 fine for no rego."

Typically the licensing fee for a petrol-powered Exempt Class B vehicle is $50.22, the NZ Transport Agency said, compared with $280.55 for a petrol-driven passenger car. The fee for Exempt Class A vehicles, such as off-road motorsport bikes and road construction machinery, varies depending on the vehicle. Other motorists have contacted APNZ to report how they had bought vehicles only to find out months later they were registered as an ambulance.

Massey woman Petra Zeeven said she bought a four-door Nissan Pulsar about eight years ago from a car dealer, who paid for the first six months' registration. However, when the renewal form came in, she was surprised to see how cheap it was.

"I realised they'd written on it that I had an ambulance," she said.

She contacted the dealer, who told her it "was just a mistake".

A spokesman for NZTA said it was "disappointing that a small number of people are making a deliberate choice to rip-off the ACC by making a false declaration". Requiring every motorist to prove the use of their vehicle was possible in theory, he said, but would make the licensing process cumbersome, and impose additional cost.

"There are penalties and other consequences for those who deliberately licence their vehicles incorrectly," the spokesman said.

The registered owner of a vehicle is considered responsible for ensuring it is registered correctly. A spokesman for ACC said people who falsely registered their cars "leave a sour taste in the mouth for us".

"They are depriving people of critical funds that are needed to cover motor vehicle related costs," he said, adding that road crashes generate the most serious, and therefore the most expensive, types of injury.

How it works
• The ACC levy of your car registration fee goes towards covering motor-vehicle related injuries on public roads.
• It makes up the majority of the cost of your vehicle registration fee.
• There are a dozen categories of vehicles which pay different ACC levies according to their relative crash risk, and a few types are exempt.
- (Source: NZTA)