Vehicle Licensing Reform is a joint Ministry of Transport and NZ Transport Agency project that looked at reforms to warrant of fitness/certificate of fitness, annual vehicle licensing (commonly known as registration), and transport services licensing.
Work on the reform was announced by Transport Minister Gerry Brownlee in March 2012.
What is Vehicle Licensing Reform?
Vehicle Licensing Reform is a review of:
- the warrant of fitness and certificate of fitness systems
- the annual vehicle licensing (commonly known as registration) system
- the transport services licensing system.
Vehicle Licensing Reform aims to save New Zealanders both time and money, while supporting the government’s commitment to road safety. This result will come from having more efficient and smarter systems to collect revenue, inspect our vehicle fleet and by only licensing the sectors that need it.
The project considered what the three systems cover and why they were there. The review did not consider:
- the vehicle register that links vehicles to registered owners
- the driver licensing system – apart from changes that flow on to either system as a result of the review.
For the full list of Vehicle Licensing Reform objectives, and what was and was not included, see the Vehicle Licensing Reform Terms of Reference (PDF, 91KB).
Why was reform needed?
Transport regulation affects New Zealand’s economic growth. Because transport makes up about five percent of our Gross Domestic Product, even small improvements in transport regulation can have significant benefits for households and businesses.
More than 14 million vehicle certification and licensing transactions are generated by these three systems each year. This puts significant administrative and cost burdens on households, businesses and government agencies that process these transactions.
Because the systems have been in place for decades, it was time to consider if the amount of regulation involved was well matched to the risks we face, and how new technologies could make the systems simpler and more efficient to run. Removing unnecessary red tape, and creating smarter ways of doing things can help open the door for innovative ideas, reduce burdens on business and households and promote economic growth.
What part did public submissions play in developing the changes to Vehicle Licensing?
The recommendations for the change were developed following an in depth process involving research, analysis and modelling, discussions with transport sector stakeholders and wide ranging public consultation.
Key steps along the way included:
- public consultation on a Rule implementing inspection frequency changes for warrants of fitness and certificates of fitness (external link)
- workshops and a conversation paper for transport sector stakeholders to help promote discussion on the strengths and weaknesses of the existing systems and what they might look like in the future
- a discussion document with options for reform that invited the public and organisations to make submissions. There was an excellent response with 4593 submissions received. A summary of submissions is available here (PDF, 346kb)
- a custom built model that examined the costs and benefits of change. The methodology to analyse safety impacts was independently peer reviewed by Dr Jagadish Guria and experts from PriceWaterhouseCoopers and Otago University. Read the Regulatory Impact Statement (PDF, 896kb) that summarises the results of cost-benefit modelling.
- a telephone survey of 1000 people and a series of focus groups to gauge New Zealanders’ attitudes and behaviours around warrant of fitness reform and vehicle maintenance, and annual vehicle licensing. Read the results here.
What are the next steps from here?
|Warrant of fitness (WoF)||Consultation on amendment to Rule||April/May 2013|
|WoF changes implemented||1 July 2014 or earlier|
|Certificate of Fitness (CoF)||Consultation on amendment to Rule||April/May 2013|
|CoF changes implemented||1 July 2014 or earlier|
|Annual Vehicle Licensing||Report back to government on specific changes to Annual Vehicle Licensing||30 September 2013|
|Transport Services Licensing||Conversation with industry about proposed changes||Before 30 September 2012|
|Report back to government on changes to Transport Services Licensing||30 September 2013|
What are the key facts about New Zealand’s vehicle fleet?
Number of vehicles in the national fleet
There are 4.2 million vehicles currently recorded in the motor vehicle register. A little over 90 percent of these are light vehicles such as cars and vans.
(Note if they remain unregistered for more than a year they are removed from the register; once struck off they have to pay a fee to get the vehicle back on the register).
Average age of vehicles in New Zealand’s fleet
Around 13 years, making New Zealand a country with one of the oldest light vehicle fleets in the developed world.
However, because of better rust prevention techniques and improved mechanical reliability most countries have aging vehicle fleets.
Number of unlicensed and unwarranted vehicles in New Zealand’s fleet
At any one time during the year there are around 260,000 cars unlicensed and the owners of nearly all of these cars pay their overdue licence fees within a year.
The likely number of unlicensed vehicles being driven each year is estimated at between 40,000 to 120,000.
Based on the 4.2 million vehicles on the vehicle register we know that:
- Around 10 per cent are without a current warrant of fitness or certificate of fitness.
- Around 9 per cent are unlicensed.
- Around 5 per cent are both without a current warrant of fitness or certificate of fitness and unlicensed.
Light vehicle fleet by year of manufacture as at December 2010 (source: NZ Transport Agency)
Where can I find more information?
Read Associate Transport Minister Simon Bridges’ media release (external link) of 27 January 2013.
Read Associate Transport Minister Simon Bridges' media release (external link) of 24 October 2012.
Read Associate Transport Minister Simon Bridges' media statement (external link) of 19 September 2012 on the beehive website.
Read Transport Minister Gerry Brownlee's media statement (external link) of 12 June 2012 on the beehive website.
Read Transport Minister Gerry Brownlee’s media statement (external link) of 28 March 2012 on the beehive website.
- Vehicle Licensing Reform Questions and Answers
- Vehicle Licensing Reform Terms of Reference (PDF, 91KB)
- Vehicle Licensing Reform Conversation Paper (PDF, 941KB)
- Release of the discussion document Cabinet paper (PDF, 1mb)
- Vehicle Licensing Reform discussion document - full version (PDF, 576kb)
- Interim Cost Benefit Analysis (PDF, 2.05mb)
Stakeholder Options Papers
The working papers for the stakeholder meeting of 12 June 2012 present an overall list of possibilities for Vehicle Licensing Reform. This includes ideas that may not be carried forward. A set of options for reform will be developed for the next stage of consultation. Read the Stakeholder Options Workshop papers (PDF, 2.1MB).