On average, Otago vehicles are among the oldest in New
Zealand, according to data published yesterday by the Motor
Trade Association (MTA).
It found the average age of vehicles registered in New
Zealand was 13 years, and for every new vehicle in the
country, its 26-year-old counterpart was still operating.
The data, supplied to the MTA by the Ministry of Transport,
showed in general the average age of vehicles was higher the
further south they were registered.
Waimate had the oldest average vehicle age of 17 years and
Auckland city the youngest average of just under eight years.
In Otago, the average age of vehicles ranged from 13 years in
the Queenstown Lakes area to 15.5 years in the Clutha and
The average vehicle age in Dunedin was 14 years, and in
Central Otago 15 years.
Nationally there were about 230,000 registered 16-year-old
vehicles, the highest number of any age.
Fewer than 100,000 vehicles were a year or two old.
The majority of company-owned vehicles were based in Auckland
and Wellington, which lowered the average age of vehicles in
MTA spokesman Ian Stronach said the increasing number of old
and often poorly maintained vehicles had serious safety
implications for everyone using New Zealand roads.
Newer vehicles had more safety features and were made using
better technology, he said.
''The world was very different in 1996 but the majority of
our vehicle fleet was built then, or before,'' Mr Stronach
The MTA believed economic factors had forced people to keep
older cars for longer and the average age of imported cars
being ''scrapped'' had increased by a year (to 19 years)
since 2000, he said.
An MTA survey carried out in July found 51% of vehicles
needed work done on the day they were booked in for a warrant
of fitness, so they could pass minimum safety requirements.
The most common faults were bald tyres, non-functioning
windscreen wipers, and broken indicators and lights.
Automobile Association (AA) Otago chairman Jeff Donaldson
said although vehicles in the region were slightly older on
average than those elsewhere in the country, that did not
mean they were not safe.
Mr Donaldson said Otago had a high compliance rate and very
few cars in the region were driven without a warrant or
''If you were looking at whether cars were safe, Otago would
be much higher up the scale.
Compliance-wise, and the way we look after our vehicles, I
think we would certainly be better in this region than parts
of Auckland or Northland, for example,'' he said.