The MTA poll

August 20th, 2012 at 10:00 am by David Farrar

The Government is considering changing the requirement for checks from six monthly to annually for some vehicles. Only vehicles less than six year olds do annual checks. Most countries only require a every two years or so.

The WOF checks costs $250m a year, so obviously the garages represented by the Motor Trade Association () are not keen on reducing the frequency. They’d probably like monthly checks.

Now the MTA has announced:

 A recent telephone survey of 1,000 drivers, completed by the Motor Trade Association (MTA), showed that 63 percent were concerned to some degree about the possibility of fewer WoF inspections as a result of the current Vehicle Licensing Reform process.

This raises so many questions. It appears the poll was done by the MTA itself, rather than by a research agency that follows the international and national code of practice ofr market research and polling.

Also the statement “some degree” conceals more than it reveals. This may be 60% were “a tiny bit concerned” and 3% “very concerned”. The MTA has not made available the actual results – just some cherry picked numbers.

The survey showed 98 percent of drivers agreed that WoFs are a valuable safety check, and an important part of road safety. More than half (56 percent) agreed that they would not feel safe on the road if WoF inspections were to become less frequent, emphasising the role that the current system plays in reassuring motorists.

New Zealand’s current vehicle inspection regime means vehicles less than six years old are required to undergo a WoF inspection every 12 months, with vehicles older than this being inspected every six months. The survey also showed there was clear support (67 percent) for retaining the frequency of WoFs as is.

Again we are not shown the actual question asked, or what questions were asked before this question.

The MTA has sent this release to all MPs, as I understand it. I hope they will now release the full poll report showing who conducted it, how the sample was selected, what exact questions were asked, and the full results. Then MPs and the public can draw their own conclusions on it.

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22 Responses to “The MTA poll”

  1. somewhatthoughtful (465 comments) says:

    Whether they did a dodgy poll or not, I think 6 monthly wof checks are a small price to pay for having the mobility afforded by a private vehicle. I also think it is a reasonable step to protect the rest of us from people willfully driving around on bald tires for a year, etc etc.

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  2. Hamnida (905 comments) says:

    One year please. Too busy for six monthly checks.

    A possible compromise could be stricter testing, but once a year. For example, 50% more tyre tread required and higher breaking percentages. MTA members can just adust their fees for the longer and harder test, say $90 for a WOF instead of $45.

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  3. Auberon (873 comments) says:

    From VTNZ’s website: “VTNZ was privatised in 1999 and the Motor Trade Association purchased the company.”

    Didn’t see that disclosure in the MTA press release. How very dishonest.

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  4. Rick Rowling (813 comments) says:

    By far the most likely cause of an accident by the vehicle-driver system is the driver.

    But we re-test the vehicle every 6 months, and the driver after 50 or so years.

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  5. Redbaiter (8,886 comments) says:

    Many countries/ states carry out vehicle fitness checks at far greater intervals than NZ does and no disasters occur as a result

    National should have fixed this ridiculously costly farce years ago.

    People who make a living from this fucking rip off need to shut the fuck up and get over their belief that governments exist to issue regulations that enable them to make money.

    Cronyist socialist bastards posing as businessmen are choking off this country’s productive life blood.

    And its not only service stations. This country is awash with such regulatory farce.

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  6. seanmaitland (500 comments) says:

    This will only impact the garages out there, who are overpriced, and offer poor service. There are a lot of cowboy, rip-off merchant operators out there, so I’m happy that this would thin the ranks and let the industry reorganize itself.

    Its the same impact as a recession has on businesses – those that are valuable and actually provide a valuable good or service can survive a recession, and all the crud gets booted out of the economy.

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  7. wreck1080 (3,917 comments) says:

    How about a graduated wof frequency based on the vehicle age?

    1-6 years old = once each 2 years.
    6-10 years = once each 1 year
    10+= 6 monthly

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  8. Adolf Fiinkensein (2,903 comments) says:

    You’d be surprised how many people in Australia tell me how much they envy the NZ system for WOF.

    Don’t throw out the baby. Once per year is fine for new cars. Many do high mileage and need their brakes and tyres checked properly at least once per year. With modern three year new car warranties I recall the WOF was carried out by the dealer curing routine servicing.

    As for the wankers who say they haven’t got time to get the test done I’m surprised they don’t stop cleaning their teeth or wiping their arses. Think how much time they could save!

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  9. RRM (9,924 comments) says:

    That’s all very fine Mr MTA, but how robust is the WoF system… REALLY?

    I had to fix a 20-year-old dent, in a non-structural piece of tin in the floorpan of my previous old bomb of a daily driver, in order to get that car what turned out to be its final WoF last year.

    Over the following 6 months, so much rust came through the sills, inner and outer front guards and the firewall that I didn’t even bother taking it for a warrant this time… straight around the back yard and up on blocks ready to be parted out. The garage appears to have somehow overlooked all that.

    I think a WoF system certainly DOES have a role to play in increasing public safety, but the MTA is MASSIVELY overblowing it.

    Yes poor maintenance can manifest itself in cars driving around with bald tyres, worn shocks, poor wheel alignment and brake pads with negligible meat left on them. But it also results in things like snapped timing belts, engines and transmissions run until low or no oil remains, and things like that that tend to remove old cars from the pool and thus render them harmless…

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  10. redeye (629 comments) says:

    I’d do away with them altogether. Increase the penalty for driving unfit vehicles.

    Having lived in Melbourne for the past 25+ years I can attest to how that works. You only need a Road Worth Certificate when you sell a vehicle, or when it’s been ‘stickered’ by the law.

    New Zealand has too many ‘regulated in’ industries.

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  11. flipper (4,067 comments) says:

    Gerry Brownlee told Parliament that Govenment would consult with “stakeholders” on the WoF issue before making a decision.

    He did NOT, sad to say, tell us that VTNZ is a privately owned, MTA entity.

    Moreover, the biggest “stakeholder” (another crappy buzz word) is surely the public. An informed public, posessed of data like what happens in Aus, what the accidet rate is for non WoF vehicles, will never be able to make a sound decision.

    Gut feeling?
    Follow Victoria. Compulsory inspection prior to sale (allow for as is, where is). That is it. Goodbye VTNZ and their ever-shifting goal posts. Finish.

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  12. dime (9,972 comments) says:

    agree with redeye. that alone scares me.

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  13. Griff (7,719 comments) says:

    Any one old enough to remember the shit that used to be on newzealand roads pre the eighties would have to wonder at the support for six month wofs. Cars now days are infinitively safer and more reliable To continue to test a modern car six monthly is just a waste of time and resources Those that use the wof system to maintain their cars are lazy idiots that should not be allowed to drive on the roads. To many times in my experience a wof fail is just an excuse to charge for unneeded repairs and make the garage money. I refuse to take my car to any repair outlet and only use the vtnz as they have no reason to inflate the bills.. It would be better for road safety if garages are removed from wof testing and wofs to be only provided by interdependent testers once a year or more for new cars.This should not be used as an excuse to add compliance costs or tighten safety rules

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  14. dime (9,972 comments) says:

    “Hamnida (332) Says:
    August 20th, 2012 at 10:13 am
    One year please. Too busy for six monthly checks.”

    Oh the communist is ok with less regulation when it makes his life easier! big surprise.

    What about the poor mechanics who will lose money? heartless commie!

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  15. trout (939 comments) says:

    Why is it that Kiwis love to be policed. Or is it part of ‘saving people from themselves’ syndrome? Very, very, few accidents are caused by vehicle malfunction. Bald tyres may be an obvious cause but these can (and are) being checked by parking wardens. The six monthly WOF is a massive rort that generates a mountain of work for the mechanics. I use a very good mechanic when I need to, but avoid getting him to do the WOF because when I do he assumes the demeanour of cancer doctor; tells me all the bad news and some, and gleefully counts the cost, knowing I have no choice. (Although I have found that a rejection can be overidden by a another inspector). Twelve month checks are probably necessary to keep neglected caravans and trailors off the road.

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  16. bhudson (4,740 comments) says:

    Oh the communist is ok with less regulation when it makes his life easier! big surprise

    Actually he suggested that the garages charge double the amount to compensate for the reduce frequency of testing – the motorist subsidising the garage owners for having the temerity of wanting more efficient compliance.

    That’s worse!!

    Of course he overlooked the prospect that the garage owners would simply pocket the extra money as profit, so we can expect that he would want to legislate to ensure that the increased charge be paid to the mechanics and other workers, and that redundancies will be outlawed.

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  17. dime (9,972 comments) says:

    bhudsen – lol i didnt read past the first line. i just assumed it would be a garbage comment. turns out it was!

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  18. bhudson (4,740 comments) says:

    Bald tyres may be an obvious cause but these can (and are) being checked by parking wardens.

    Don’t get me wrong. I think it is absolutely the responsibility for motorists to maintain their vehicles to fit and warrantable standard. And they should be fined for not doing so. We have the means to capture these – when pulled over by the police on mobile patrol, or a roadside check.

    I think it is as inappropriate for a council to be performing these checks (outside of their core responsibilities) as it is for the local hospital to be demanding to see your rates payment, or the police rocking onto your property to check to see if your dog registration is current.

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  19. wreck1080 (3,917 comments) says:

    Personally I like the wof checks. The frequency is too high though.

    Many serious faults are hidden. A traffic warden is hardly going to detect a suspension about to collapse.

    Case in point — Some ford territorys had catastrophic ball-joint failure in Australia. This is due to a design flaw in the ball joints (google it).

    No wheels ( to my knowledge) detached in NZ because they were picked up in the warrant checks.

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  20. calendar girl (1,236 comments) says:

    The WoF regime is another regulatory deadweight cost on our under-performing economy. If the country adopted a principled approach (for a change) all that’s needed are:
    1. An obligation on drivers to be responsible for their vehicles being up to prescribed standards at all times (with heavy financial penalties for trangressions); and
    2. Standardised, independent safety checks to be supplied to buyers and to the MOT as a standard part of changes of ownership.

    Don’t know about older cars (say, over 20 years old?), manufactured before today’s safety features became the norm, but a minimalist involvement by the bureaucracy is preferable. The underlying principle should be that the owner / motorist is responsible for the car being safe to be on the road. There’s nothing to stop that person from buying a full or partial safety check, of their own volition, if they don’t feel competent to decide on relevant safety issues.

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  21. TM (99 comments) says:

    Yearly WOFs at most. I remember in the UK when I had a new vehicle it was exempt from any checks for 3 years.

    And there are a lot of people who get around the system by going to “easy” garages or doing things like borrowing tyres for the check.

    It’s just money for old rope. Is the MTA afraid their members will have to do some real mechanical work?

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  22. MotorTrade (1 comment) says:

    There has been a lot of comment on this site about the vehicle licensing reform and WoF frequency. We thought it was only fair to put forward our views – we have put together some information and stats that readers may find useful. Visit this link http://www.mta.org.nz/vlr to read about it. Enjoy the read!

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