Leg­is­la­tion and the mo­tor in­dus­try

Motor Equipment News - - CONTENTS -

I read this gem on Wikipedia the other day: “Gov­ern­ment leg­is­la­tion has al­ways had a ma­jor im­pact on the New Zealand [mo­tor] in­dus­try.”

It was gov­ern­ment pro­tec­tion­ism that led to the growth of a strong New Zealand ve­hi­cle and parts man­u­fac­tur­ing in­dus­try in the 1920s, and em­phat­i­cally in 1938 with the “Im­port Con­trol Reg­u­la­tions 1938”, which favoured lo­cally-built cars (and Bri­tish cars) over all oth­ers.

How­ever all this changed in the 1980s, when the Gov­ern­ment once more stepped in, and started to phase out im­port du­ties. And as the tar­iffs dis­ap­peared, so did lo­cal assem­bly.

The man­u­fac­tur­ing mo­tor com­pa­nies be­came im­porters and sales teams, and many of them stayed on at their old plants, leas­ing out the un­used space – Ford and Nissan in Wiri, South Auck­land were prime ex­am­ples – while oth­ers jumped ship and moved out of town com­pletely, Toy­ota be­ing the best ex­am­ple of this. Yet Toy­ota kept its fac­tory in Thames, and to­day it’s one of the town’s big­gest em­ploy­ers, as Toy­ota’s re­fur­bish­ment cen­tre for its Sig­na­ture Class used ve­hi­cles.

But this week, as I write, saw another chap­ter close, when Ford emp­tied the parts ware­house at its Wiri site, and moved parts dis­tri­bu­tion to a pur­pose-built site in High­brook Busi­ness Park, close to its head of­fice, and just off the SH1 be­tween Auck­land and Manukau. See story page 37.

A mov­ing oc­ca­sion, but not nec­es­sar­ily a tri­umph for “Gov­ern­ment leg­is­la­tion”.

On the other side of the coin, I note that the Gov­ern­ment – or more to the point, the New Zealand Trans­port Agency, which is part of the Gov­ern­ment’s public ser­vice – is hav­ing a look at the Low Vol­ume Ve­hi­cle Tech­ni­cal As­so­ci­a­tion (LVVTA), and how it op­er­ates.

Although there are crit­i­cisms of the LVVTA from time to time – of­ten by ve­hi­cle mod­i­fiers who want to take short­cuts – the or­gan­i­sa­tion pro­vides a great ser­vice, and en­sures that mod­i­fied ve­hi­cles are built to high safety stan­dards, as well as pro­vid­ing other ser­vices – see story page 26.

It would be a pity if the NZTA re­view led to the demise of the LVVTA, for there’s noth­ing to re­place it.

All the best,

John.

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