Changes on way for farm vehicles

Last updated 07:36 08/11/2012

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Farmer Freddy has locked the cows in after nattering with the artificial breeding technician and heads into the implement shed to check on his mower.

After all, the hay paddocks are growing at a great rate of knots and it will soon be time to cut the grass and bale the hay at the runoff.

Pebbles stops by the implement shed to chat to her father. "What's going on?" she asks, seeing the mower attached to the tractor. "You're not cutting the hay already, are you?"

"Soon, Pebbles," replies Freddy. "I'm greasing the mower and taking it down to the runoff. I'll leave it in the shed there, so everything is ready for me to cut when we have the next spell of fine weather."

Always happy to apply her legal knowledge to her father's farming escapades, Pebbles remembers an update over her desk on the proposed changes to the rules for agricultural vehicles.

"You may be interested, Dad, to know that the Government is proposing changes to the Land Transport Rules, in particular the rules for vehicles that have a specialist agricultural function like your old tractor," says Pebbles.

"The changes would put in place different regimes for agricultural vehicles that travel under 40kmh, and those vehicles that travel over 40kmh. Agricultural vehicles not exceeding 40kmh wouldn't require a Warrant of Fitness and if you had a restricted car licence, you could drive these vehicles on the road. You wouldn't get off scot- free, though. These vehicles would still need to be kept in a roadworthy condition.

"Agricultural vehicles that exceed 40kmh would need an annual Warrant of Fitness and to be driven by the holder of a wheels endorsement or Class 2 licence.

"There are lots of other changes proposed as well - for example, the rules around pilot vehicles, hazard identification and vehicle visibility," says Pebbles.

"When are these changes coming in?" asks Freddy, the panic mounting in his voice as he glances around the implement shed and realises some of his old equipment may not cut the mustard.

"Don't panic, Dad", says Pebbles. "The Government is currently consulting on the proposed changes and submissions are due by November 30. If the changes do come into effect, you won't have to worry about getting your equipment up to scratch until May 1 next year."

"It sounds like it's all happening, Pebbles. I'm going to have to take a serious look at these changes, because the last thing I need is hassles when I'm driving the tractor down to the runoff," says Freddy.

"Now, Pebbles, can you be of some practical use for a change and pass me that grease gun?"

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Lawyers and legal executives from Auld Brewer Mazengarb & McEwen write fortnightly about legal topics affecting farmers. The content of this article is necessarily general and readers should seek specific advice and not rely solely on what is written here. Those who would like further information on any of the topics, should contact Auld Brewer Mazengarb & McEwen. If you want a particular topic covered, email nick.carey@abmm.co.nz.

- © Fairfax NZ News

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