The Government has promised to close a dangerous loophole
which has seen used car dealers put worn-out parts into
Last September the New Zealand Herald revealed the New
Zealand Transport Authority (NZTA) was investigating the
It has now confirmed that used car dealers have put new parts
into vehicles to bring them into New Zealand, only to put the
worn-out parts back in before sale.
The Auckland Motor Vehicle Disputes Tribunal had flagged the
scam to the Government after dealing with three examples in
The cases included worn brake pads, damaged headlight
adjusters and rusted rotors being put into imported cars.
Associate Transport Minister Simon Bridges told the Herald
that he had asked the Ministry of Transport to find a way to
stamp out the practice.
"I remain concerned about any practice that could jeopardise
our vehicle compliance systems or the safety of vehicles on
NZTA spokesman Andy Knackstedt said the scam's scope was
limited to a small number of importers.
Parts-swapping was unlikely to be done by large-scale
importers who sell vehicles to dealers, he said.
"It is more likely done by smaller dealers who directly
import a few vehicles so that it is more important to
maximise the profit of every vehicle."
Last year about 75,000 used vehicles were imported. Each must
have a safety and quality check, and often worn or damaged
parts will have to be replaced before the car is rechecked
and allowed to be sold.
The scam has seen some dealers put the old parts back into
vehicles after the recheck has been done and compliance
If a vehicle is certified it is issued with an entry warrant
of fitness, which needs to be replaced if it is more than one
month old at the time of purchase.
Mr Knackstedt said that while dealers taking part in the scam
may be in breach of industry standards or consumer law, it
was unlikely any transport legislation had been breached.
"The NZTA's options are limited in terms of addressing the
issue through transport rules or regulations."
Mr Bridges said the Ministry of Transport would work with
industry organisations such as the Motor Trade Association to
address the problem.
"I would reiterate NZTA's message to anyone purchasing a used
imported vehicle to have an independent pre-purchase
inspection carried out."
Used cars checked for safety on importation by compliance
agent such as the AA.
Very often dealers told to replace worn or damaged parts.
Once this is done vehicle is re-checked and given approval
for sale and entry WoF.
Some dealers have then put old parts back into car before
- Nicholas Jones of the NZ Herald