Estimated 400,000 cars on NZ roads don’t have a WOF

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Words: Matthew Hansen
13 May 2021

The Covid-19 pandemic may feel somewhat over to most Kiwis, but plenty of businesses and low-income families are continuing to do it tough in the volatile financial climate.

This has prompted New Zealand’s Motor Transport Association (MTA) to make a plea to the government for an injection of funding to assist low-income groups with paying for vehicle inspections and repair costs.

The MTA’s pleas come off the back of revelations that the Ministry of Social Development payments to people for car repairs have tripled in the last six years, according to numbers obtained by the National Party.

National says that the ministry has spent $33.6million across more than 50,000 grants over the last year (year ending March, 2021). This compares to the $11million paid across 22,500 grants in 2016.

According to the MTA, on average some 400,000 cars populating Kiwi roads don’t have a warrant of fitness. Ministry of Transport statistics show that the amount of fatal crashes where the vehicle’s health was a contributing factor has jumped from 5 per cent in 2013 to 11 per cent across 2017–’19.

The MTA estimates that, with an $85million government programme it could make the roads safer and save roughly 50 lives per year. MTA advocacy and strategy manager Greig Epps says such a problem would “quickly pay for itself, maintain vehicle safety and save lives”.

“These are vehicles that are actively registered but have no record of a recent WOF. This is a significant vehicle-safety risk to the lives of the people driving these vehicles, their passengers, and other road users,” he adds.

“We believe financial hardship is a significant factor in the decision to present a vehicle for WOF testing and that this needs to be addressed with a specific programme of support through the Ministry of Social Development for vehicle repairs.”


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