Could a “scrapping program” get old cars off Kiwi roads? – NZ Coach
New Zealand’s car fleet has long been considered one of the oldest in the OECD, in part thanks to the volume of cheap imports from Japan.
Now the age of the fleet is about to become much more of a talking point as the current government strives to improve local emissions and clean up the national fleet. While its Clean Car Discount and Clean Car Standard help make low-emission cars cheaper to buy, they don’t directly address ridding the country of its cache of older cars.
Scrappage cash-for-cash programs have been deployed with mixed effect in a multitude of countries, including the United States and the United Kingdom.
The idea is that those who have older cars that meet certain criteria will be able to voluntarily hand them over on a “buy-back” basis, with the amount of money paid for the car often well above market value. The money paid should then be used to buy a new, more efficient, less polluting and safer car, while the traded car is sent for scrap.
At a parliamentary event held yesterday where ministers met with various members of the auto industry, Transport Minister Michael Wood backed an initiative to rejuvenate the national fleet – a measure that would cut emissions and make the car average over the safer route.
The government and the Motor Trade Association (MTA) have discussed the appearance of a scrapping program in New Zealand.
Wood noted that the government hopes to “raise the safety standards for vehicles entering the fleet,” adding that the current proficiency warrant regime should be investigated. “We also need to improve the understanding of vehicle safety and this includes examining options to increase the adoption of these technologies in the fleet,” he added.
“This means that whatever new or imported used car people choose to buy, they all contribute to the task of cleaning vehicles entering New Zealand.”
The idea of a scrapping program has the backing of the MTA with its chairman, Dave Harris, confirming that he has been advocating for the introduction of scrapping legislation for some time.
“New Zealand vehicles are currently being scrapped at around 19.7 years old. But we do know that vehicles 15 and older start to fail their WOF inspection more than 50% of the time, ”said Harris.
“We also know, according to a study commissioned by the ministry [of Transport], that victims of a fatal accident involving two vehicles are more likely to be in the older vehicle, which was on average about 17 years old. […] That is why we have called for a further investigation into a scrapping program.
This is not the first time that a scrapping program has been discussed at government level. Similar whispers surfaced in 2019. Attempts were also made in 2007 and 2009 to get a cash scheme against clunkers on the line.