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MEDIA 30 April 2020

MTA highlights WoF Extension Concerns

MTA is concerned about the long-term impacts of the Government’s decision to extend WoFs, along with CoFs and regos, while the country was in lockdown.

Now we’re at Level 3, we want NZTA to take action to avoid a huge spike in WoF workloads in October.

MTA Advocacy and Strategy Manager Greig Epps, spoke to the media today about our concerns and what MTA wants to see happen:

Stuff Article: Coronavirus: Motor industry fears WoF extensions could set up car owners for years of havoc >>

About half the country's car owners could end up trying to get their cars warranted all at once each and every October, if the Transport Agency doesn't rethink a coronavirus rule change, the Motor Trade Association has warned.

The Transport Agency is giving people extra time to get their warrants of fitness (WoFs), because of the coronavirus.

Car owners whose WoFs expired after January 1 this year, might be given up until October 10 to get that done, the agency has advised on its website.

Motor Transport Association strategy manager Grieg Epps said such a long extension would cause problems for service stations,which are used to performing a steady stream of about 500,000 WoFs every month.

If all car owners whose WoFs were due after April 1 left the checks until October, that could mean about half of the 6 million WoF checks conducted each year would need to be done in early spring.

Currently, about 41 per cent of vehicles fail their WoF at their annual check, he said.

Some service stations derive two-thirds of their work from WoF checks and subsequent repairs, so a lumpy workload would not be manageable, he feared..

Epps said that if the delayed WoF certificates were issued for a full year, the problem could then repeat itself every year thereafter, with no WoFs expiring in and after April 2021 until another flood the following October.

The Transport Agency had set up a project team to look at the issue, he said.

But he said the industry and motorists would need clarity sooner rather than later, as the flow of work was already becoming distorted.

"We are worried we have gone into level 3 and more people are thinking about getting their WoFs done now."

"As well as the industry needing to know what is going on, we need to tell drivers.

WoF checks can be carried out at level 3, if social distancing rules are observed, but unless the expiry-date issue was addressed, motorists would not be encouraged to come in, he said.

"We are already getting people telling us they had heard an announcement that everything was 'okay until October' so they are not going to come in until then.

"The agency has got a lot of things on its plate, but we are a bit surprised about how long it is taking to process this decision."

Another industry source said service stations were concerned that they could lose 40 per cent of their business this year if expired WoFs were extended out until October.

Transport Agency spokesman Andy Knackstedt said October 10 was the "maximum" grace period and the date had been named to ensure the agency had enough time make decisions without going back to the Cabinet.

"This was particularly important at the time given the high level of uncertainty at the time on how long disruption caused by Covid-19 would last," he said.

The Transport Agency was conscious of the impact of extensions on the industry and that was a key consideration in determining new expiry dates, he said.

"We will continue the ongoing communication and collaboration we have been maintaining with industry throughout the alert levels."

Epps said the MTA had suggested a "tapered approach" to the extension, with WoFs that expired in the lockdown getting six to eight weeks extra, but with this extension reducing towards June and July.

"We have also suggested new WoFs expire 12 months from the date of the old WoF, so that the cycle is reset to how it should look," he said.

Radio NZ Interview

The motor industry is asking the Transport Agency for more clarity about Warrant of Fitness checks.

There are concerns that service stations could be overloaded all at once due to Covid-19 related changes.

We speak to Motor Trade Association strategy manager Grieg Epps.

Radio New Zealand: Motor Industry Worried about WoFs >>