Positive meeting with Minister
While rejecting any extension of the incoming annual WOF regime to cover heritage vehicles, Associate Transport Minister Michael Woodhouse is considering a revision of the definition of vintage vehicles which would significantly reduce Rego/ACC fees for many more motoring enthusiasts.
At our most recent discussion with the Transport Minister, the executive of the NZFOMC submitted there would be both economic and road safety benefits if WOF inspections for heritage vehicles were also reduced from six months to annual.
We expressed our concern that the cost and inconvenience of obtaining six monthly warrants is prompting many collectors to place the registration of their vehicles on hold for at least part of each year when regular year round use and maintenance would keep them in better and safer operating condition.
While not disputing our statistics which show the rate of WOF rejections, involvement in crashes, and annual mileages covered are lower for heritage vehicles than more modern models, the Minister said transport officials remain concerned that older cars are subject to non-distance related accelerated deterioration so believe they still need to be checked six monthly.
However he has instructed his officials to investigate reducing the age of vintage vehicles as legally defined in transport legislation from the current over 40 years down to 30 years. This could have the effect of lowering licensing fees for a larger range of collector vehicles which would more than offset the costs of six monthly warrants.
In our transport legislation, ‘Veteran Motor Vehicles’ are correctly defined as motor vehicles manufactured before January 1 1919. But the current New Zealand legislated category of ‘Vintage Vehicles’, being those 40 years or older, is inconsistent with the generally accepted definition of ‘Vintage’ being only those motor vehicles manufactured after 1 January 1919 and before 31 December 1931.
The change the Minister has agreed to investigate would bring New Zealand into line with the internationally recognised reference date of 30 years old and, to avoid other confusions, we have suggested the classification should be changed from ‘Vintage’ to ‘Heritage Vehicles’.
The percentage of the fleet aged between 30 and 40 years is less than 1 per cent and most vehicles of this age are no longer covering significant annual distances. With few exceptions, only car buffs continue to drive and maintain such vehicles, and distances travelled annually are generally small.
With the ACC proposing to introduce a sliding scale of fees based on risk ratings linked to vehicle age, we suggested to the Minister that introducing a ‘Heritage Vehicle” beginning at 30 years, will reflect their true contribution to accident and injury statistics and mitigate the excessive financial impost on heritage vehicles which could otherwise occur.
FOMC Secretary Roy Hughes (left), Associate Transport Minister Michael Woodhouse (second from left) met with President Malcolm Lumsden and Vice-President Fred Fellows