PM defends WOF changes

KATE CHAPMAN & PAUL EASTON
Last updated 08:57 28/01/2013

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Prime Minister John Key has defended the changes made to warrant of fitness (WOF) requirements for newer cars, saying they will save time and money.

Under reforms announced yesterday six-monthly warrants are to be phased out for cars registered after January 1, 2000, with only annual checks required.

Older cars will still require six-monthly warrants.

There will also be a more lenient regime for new vehicles, which will need an initial WOF but will then not have to be re-tested for three years.

The change will affect about one million of the three million cars in the country, and will come into force in July 2014, or earlier.

Critics of the move have said the changes would cost lives.

Motor Trade Association spokesman Ian Stronach said the Government's decision would also cost an estimated 2000 jobs among those checking and repairing vehicles.

But Key said the changes were about saving time and money.

"I think it's going to maintain safety standards and its just a sensible move forward," he said.

WOF testing was introduced in the 1930s and car design had come a long way since then, he told RadioLive.

"If you've got a Japanese import that you bought in '96, or you've got, you know, a Zephyr from 1970 well OK, you'll carry on getting six-monthly warrants there."

Associate Transport Minister Simon Bridges said the new regime recognised that the quality of vehicles and their safety features and performance were improving.

Ministry of Transport research showed the package of changes would benefit motorists and businesses by $159 million a year, and by at least $1.8 billion over 30 years.

That included savings on inspection, compliance costs, justice, enforcement, and time spent by motorists getting their WOF.

Automobile Association spokesman Mark Stockdale welcomed the changes, saying they would bring savings of $45m to $70m a year for motorists without compromising safety.

KEY CHANGES

An initial inspection for new cars, followed by annual inspections once vehicles are three years old. Annual inspections for vehicles three years and older and first registered on/after January 1, 2000. Six-monthly inspections for vehicles first registered before January 1, 2000. Information and education to increase people's awareness of regular vehicle maintenance. Extra police enforcement. 

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