Time’s ticking for many cars with thousands of warrants due to expire or already expired during lockdown but the the Government says, at this stage, there will be no WOF extensions like the ones introduced last year.
Last lockdown drivers were given a six-month grace period to renew warrants and licences. The Waka Kotahi New Zealand Transport Agency says it will look at whether it’s needed again if lockdown is extended.
It says it is “constructively working with the Ministry of Transport” and will help people get back to compliance once it has further information such as “length of the lockdown, the number of vehicles and drivers impacted [and] the capacity of the agent network”.
But the country’s largest testing company, VTNZ, along with three other big testing companies have written to the Government today saying an extension would put people's safety at risk and only delays the backlog.
“There's a percentage of the driving population that just want to take advantage of the delay,” said VTNZ’s country manager Greg O’Connor.
The Motor Trade Association (MTA) agrees and told 1 NEWS people just waited until the amnesty period was over and a new backlog was created.
MTA repair sector manager Graeme Swan estimates 600,000 vehicles are now unwarranted due to the national Level 4 lockdown and every week Auckland is in Level 4, that increases by 40,000 a week.
“We know at any one time there's about 18 per cent of vehicles that don’t have a current inspection. We have an extremely old fleet here in New Zealand and it's only getting older year-by-year,” he said.
VTNZ wants officials to take a leniency approach instead – something police say they’re already doing.
Police say “as with any detected infringements at any alert level, police will continue to have discretion in how to deal with these matters, and all situations will be assessed on a case-by-case basis”.