Riders swerve from rego rises

Motorcycle rider and dealer Rick Jamieson says riders are finding ways around high registration costs. Photo by Gerard O'Brien.
Motorcycle rider and dealer Rick Jamieson says riders are finding ways around high registration costs. Photo by Gerard O'Brien.

Motorcyclists hit by an increase in annual registration fees are cancelling their rego over winter, or paying a higher rate by registering their machines for shorter periods.

Four years after the increases in the ACC levy portion of registration, motorcyclists are still hurting.

But figures released to the Otago Daily Times by the New Zealand Transport Agency show despite motorcyclists' attempts to get around the issue, a continuing increase of motorcycles on New Zealand roads meant the total ACC take had risen in the past four years by almost $6 million.

Registration fees for motorcycles rose in 2010, and are now $477 for machines up to 600cc, and $591 for those over 600cc.

Those prices have resulted in riders consigning their machines to the garage for periods of the year.

In August 2009, 35,827 had ''exemptions'', which meant registration was on hold.

But in August last year that had climbed to 57,470.

Despite the numbers not paying, the NZTA figures show overall the ACC take increased from $15,865,623 in the 2009-10 year to $22,000,666 in the past financial year.

That has resulted from an increase in motorcycle sales.

Numbers of registered machines increased from 105,479 in 2009-10 to 130,439 in 2013-14.

Motorcycle Replacements Ltd manager Rick Jamieson said ''two-thirds of my client base'' put their registration on hold between July and October.

The NZTA website says owners can apply for an exemption of a minimum of three months.

Mr Jamieson said ACC and the NZTA were missing out on payments for those periods.

''The funny thing is, ACC were told when they put the price up an exorbitant amount: `As soon as you put it up people will stop registering'.''

He said it was likely if the price came down, more people would pay up.

He said last year winter had been warm, and riders had ''missed out'' on good riding weather, having saved about $150 putting registration on hold for three months.

''I know to some people $150 is a lot of money, and they do have to save it to make that work.

''Motorcyclists do feel unjustly targeted,'' Mr Jamieson said.

''Because we're the smallest minority motor vehicle [user group], we're the easiest ones to target.''

The NZTA figures also show people pay in shorter increments for year-round registration, which costs more. A motorcycle over 600cc costs $591 for a year, but $331 for six months.

In 2009-10, 38,435 motorcycle owners with machines over 600cc registered their vehicles for less than six months, while 27,384 bought registration for the longer periods.

In 2013-14, that had changed to 71,841 at less than six months, and just 16,284 for longer.

• ACC would not recommend cuts to motorcycle levies, which were already heavily subsidised by other vehicle owners, chairwoman Paula Rebstock said.

- david.loughrey@odt.co.nz

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