Luke Appleby at One News reports:
What’s the price tag on a piece of pressed aluminium these days?
I guess it depends if you’re the one buying a new personalised plate for your much-loved car – or the only company in the country legally allowed to sell one.
I’ve always thought personalised plates a bit of a rip off. Most motorists can barely afford enough petrol to get down their driveway, let alone paying a thousand bucks for a novelty decoration.
It can cost you anywhere from $169 to more than $1400 to buy a new personalised plate – and right up into thousands for some of the more rare ones.
For example – ‘R1POFF’ will run you about $1000, while a remake of your existing government plate with a different colour or design goes for about $169. We just accept that’s what these plates cost.
But many don’t seem to realise that the personalised market in New Zealand is a government-commissioned monopoly.
There’s only one company allowed by the government to sell these plates, and they have no direct competition.
It is a rip off and people should demand change from the Government.
There is a far superior model, and it is already in place for a similar commodity – domain names.
You have a small backend registry that records the owner of each name or plate. They charge a modest wholesale fee which covers the cost of the registry and any road safety levy.
You allow any company that meets the criteria to be a registrar and sell the names or plates at a retail price to the public. So these companies would compete with each other and you’d not have people paying $1,000 for a $20 plate.
It works well with domain names where 90 companies compete on price, service and niche demand. It would work well with personalised plates also.