Centre City Auto Repairs owner Stephen Fraser inspects a
vehicle for a warrant of fitness in Dunedin yesterday.
Photo by Gerard O'Brien.
The cost for a warrant of fitness inspection could
increase for motorists as a ''diabolical'' law change keeps
unsafe vehicles on New Zealand roads, Dunedin Warrant of
Fitness Centre inspector Phil Park says.
From New Year's Day, a law change required an annual rather
than six-monthly warrant of fitness inspection for vehicles
under 3.5 tonnes registered in New Zealand between 2004 and
From July, the changes will apply to light vehicles
registered after 2000.
New vehicles will get an initial inspection, then need annual
inspections when they are three years old.
Mr Park said the $50 price for a warrant of fitness
inspection at the South Dunedin centre would be evaluated and
a price increase was possible because of the ''diabolical''
Dunedin driving conditions meant vehicles needed to be
checked more than once a year.
A woman brought her car to the centre for a warrant this week
and her tyres were bald, he said.
''She was horrified, and those tyres could have blown out
with two kids in the car. That's pretty scary.''
Centre City Auto Repairs owner Stephen Fraser said he issued
his first annual warrant yesterday.
He was concerned that brakes and tyres were easily worn to an
unsafe condition after a year of hilly Dunedin driving and
advised motorists to have their vehicle checked six months
after getting a warrant.
However, many motorists would steer clear of the extra checks
unless something was obviously wrong with their car, he said.
''I think for most people it will be like a toothache - they
will put it off until they have to do something about it.''
He wanted a law change to allow inspectors to make more
detailed inspections by removing wheels and brake drums,
which would result in more vehicles failing inspections and
ensure safer vehicles on the roads.
Then the inspection price would need to increase for the
extra work involved, he said.
Westside Compliance & Service Centre owner Peter Whelan
said he would ''most likely'' have to increase the inspection
price and would re-evaluate it in six months.
Fewer inspections would result in fewer inspectors being
''It is definitely going to affect the workforce.''
Vehicle Testing New Zealand (VTNZ) South Dunedin manager
Graeme Lewis said there were no plans to raise its $51
''We review our prices every year but at this stage there has
been nothing said about any price increase.''
German company Dekra bought 60% of VTNZ in November Motor
Trade Association owns the rest.
Mr Lewis said Dekra was not concerned about the law change
when it bought into the company.
Duty Minister Nick Smith said he expected inspection prices
to increase. An increase would be justified because a vehicle
inspected annually had a greater probability of failing.
''And as a consequence that would increase the [inspection]
time slightly and secondly, most businesses do operate on
Businesses had fixed costs such as rates and electricity and
the fewer inspections would result in a price increase.
''I do expect there will be some increase in the cost of
getting a warrant of fitness but ... you only need to get one
half as often.''
Automobile Association motoring services manager Stella
Stocks said AA would not advocate an inspection price
increase to cover lost business earnings.
However, the New Zealand Transport Agency was reviewing its
administration fees and if raised fees were imposed on
warrant of fitness testing businesses, a price increase would
be understandable, she said.