Wof concerns in wake of 'diabolical' law change

Centre City Auto Repairs owner Stephen Fraser inspects a vehicle for a warrant of fitness in Dunedin yesterday. Photo by Gerard O'Brien.
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 2008.

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'' law change.

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 trained.

''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 inspection fee.

''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 scale.''

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.

- shawn.mcavinue@odt.co.nz

WoF costs

The suggestion by Max_Power that all MTA members have agreed that the price of a WoF will double is nonsense.

Prices are set by individual businesses, and as in most other instances, the market will decide what the charges will be.

We have seen no evidence that costs will increase.

NSW Pink slip is 12 months not 6 months

Michael, the pink slip for NSW is not every 6 months. It is 12 months whenever you do a renewal. Renewals are every 12 months. You may be confusing the green slip which is for insurance which you can pay every 6 months if you want to.


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Wof concerns

In Queensland a vehicle has to have a Roadworthy Certificate to be sold.  It then does not need another until it is resold.

The responsibility to maintain the vehicle in road worthy condition remains with the owner and there are subtantial fines for failing to do so.  Insurance cover also requires that the vehicle is well maintained.

The accident and injury rate is no higher than New Zealand and, despite no ongoing roadworthy certificate requirement, vehicles are well maintained as police target vehicles seen as at risk.


The market will decide

Unlike some industries like my own (construction) with this one you don't get what you pay for, by paying more.  If certain WOF testing stations put their prices up we will just go to the cheapest one.  The test is of a uniform nature is it not?. The results should be the same?  (or am I missing something?) I have 6 vehicles which require testing and 2 trailers.  I'll be shopping around.

Not in Victoria

There aren't any pink slips in Victoria. So long as you pay your rego on time there's no need to get a 'roadworthy' unless you're selling your car.

WOF checks

What utter rubbish. The safety of a modern vehicle, certainly anything manufactured in the last fifteen or so years, can be assessed relatively quickly. They are no longer built with complex and cumbersome suspension and steering systems. Rust points in body and chassis have largely been eliminated. It makes no difference to a check whether the vehicle is inspected once a year or daily. I can understand inspection agencies being concerned about losing a large slice of their business, but that's not the motorists' problem. The moaning and scaremongering will achieve nothing for them.

Australia pinkslips

Australia or at least NSW has a WOF type thing. It's called a pinkslip. Without it you can't pay for your greenslip or rego.

It's yearly for the first 3 or 5 years of a new car's life then it moves to every 6 months.

I can understand why they might make it yearly for new cars but once a new car becomes old should the frequency increase again? ie my 2008 Corolla will get yearly WOF but so will my 2000 Mazda 3 which by all accounts is far more likely to have a mechanical fault after 13 years of driving.

Should be WOF every 12 months for everyone

New Zealand's the only country with a WOF every 6 months. Many people are struggling with the high cost of living and making it once a year will help a lot of people, though it should be for all people and not just the wealthy who can afford a new car. Mechanics may lose some business but they have had a good run and should be greatful for the extra business they've had which they shouldn't have had in the first place.

Entirely self centred

Recently having moved to Australia where there are no WOFs I question the system in its entirety, and especially this scaremongering. Despite the lack of WOF system in Australia there's not the hundreds of cars crashing of the road that these guys would suggest there should be.

Rip off

I was recently talking to a mechanic who said that all MTA members have an agreement that the price of a yearly warrant will double. He said this is not because of any increase in cost, it's the fact that they don't want to miss out on income. Makes you wonder if the concern shown by mechanics is in your interest or theirs.

The WOF fee is excessive

The WOF fee is excessive now, raising it further will mean more and more people will go without the warrant due to the cost of the inspection.


Will we see a two-tier price system, where older cars that still have wofs every 6 months get the wof for less? Yeah right.

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