Drivers whose cars are now less than 13 years old will only
need annual warrants of fitness checks rather than
six-monthly, under changes to the WOF system aimed at saving
motorists $159 million a year.
Associate Transport Minister Simon Bridges has just announced
the changes after reviewing the WOF system earlier in the
The changes include:
* new cars will have an initial inspection but no further WOF
check will be required until the vehicle is three years old.
After that, they will require annual inspections.
* vehicles which are more than three years old and first
registered after 1 January 2000 will require annual
* older vehicles which were first registered before 1 January
2000 will still require 6-monthly checks.
Mr Bridges said the mix recognised concerns about older
vehicles on the road, while also recognising that in new
cars, the quality and safety features had improved over time
and the six-monthly checks were unnecessary.
He said the Ministry of Transport had calculated that the
changes would save motorists and businesses $159 million a
year - or $1.8 billion over 30 years - including savings in
inspection costs, law enforcement costs - such as fines for
unwarranted vehicles - and the time spent getting a WOF.
There will also be changes for the Certificate of Fitness
regime which applies to transport vehicles such as taxis and
Although the default position will be to retain six-monthly
checks, the Transport Agency will have a discretion to
require individual operators to undergo either more or less
regular checks, between every three months to a year. That
will depend on the operators' safety records. That change is
expected to save between $14 million to $41 million a year.
To help address concerns raised about less frequent warrant
checks, Mr Bridges said money would be put into public
education campaigns and more funding for Police enforcement
He said the changes brought New Zealand into line with other
"New Zealand currently has one of the highest inspection
frequencies in the world."
He said NZTA was also reviewing the annual car licensing
(registration) system, looking at ways to make paying the fee
easier and reduce infringement notices by using more
reminders and payment incentives such as late payment
The Motor Trade Association (MTA) said the changes would mean
the loss of more than 2000 jobs because fewer inspections
would need to be carried out, pushing more skilled people out
of the automotive industry.
Furthermore, it would increase risks to motorists and
ultimately be more expensive for them.
"Many vehicles will now be travelling twice the distance and
going twice as long before undergoing the minimum safety
check," MTA spokesman Ian Stronach said.
"Many drivers rely on this as their primary safety and
operational assurance. In an automotive environment like
ours, that is too long and too far."
Mr Stronach said it was a "piecemeal deconstruction" of the
vehicle inspection regime that has served and protected
motorists well for many years.
Road safety campaigner Clive Matthew-Wilson said the changes
would result in more road deaths.
"Despite what people have been conned into believing, the
current six-monthly WOF check is a major lifesaver."
He dismissed Government claims that few accidents are caused
by vehicle defects and that the six-monthly WOF are therefore
an unnecessary expense.
"Take a typical situation where a child runs out in front of
your car. Whether or not that child gets killed may well
depend on the state of your vehicle's brakes and shock
absorbers," he said.
The Government had done a brilliant job of presenting the
changes as a measure to save ordinary motorists time and
money, when actually the average motorist would save very
little and may lose a lot, he said.