ACC 2014-15 Motor Vehicle levy consultation
ACC are consulting on next year’s motor vehicle levies, and propose to reduce levies for passenger cars, vintage cars and light goods service vehicles. For passenger cars, ACC are proposing to introduce an element of risk-rating so the size of the levy reduction will range from $0 to $100 depending on its safety rating which is derived from the Australasian Used Car Safety Ratings. The AA’s submission welcomes the reduction in levies due to improvements in ACC accounts. We also cautiously support risk-rating but suggest changes to some default rankings for vehicles without crash history and classic cars under 40 years. The AA also urges ACC to collect ACC levies from alcohol sales to cover the costs of alcohol-related crashes.
Safer journeys for rural schools
NZTA have produced a draft technical guide for road controlling authorities and engineers, and companion guidelines for school communities, to help identify road safety risks and effective treatments for children on the journey to and from school. The NZAA supports both guides and the evidence-based approach to identify actual risks rather than perceived risks, and the importance of effective engineering treatments that minimise risk rather than merely manage it like lower speeds. The NZAA recommended the guidelines be fully promoted to schools and RCAs, and that more examples of treatment options and details of school safety policies and bus safety be provided. We also asked that the NZAA be explicitly listed as a key stakeholder to be consulted by schools and communities on any changes.
Hamilton Safer Speed Areas
Hamilton City Council proposed further changes to speed limits on roads within the city as part of its Safer Speed Areas project. The NZAA surveyed our Hamilton Members to inform our submission and is calling on the council to not proceed with the proposed changes and review the changes that have been made previously to understand whether they are achieving their aims or not.
Omnibus Amendment Rule
This Rule proposes a number of technical amendments to various Land Transport Rules, including changes to the Lighting Rule for motorcycles, and the definition of ‘school bus’ under the Road User Rule. The NZAA supports changes to improve the conspicuity of motorcycles which will enhance safety, but we opposed the changes to school buses on the grounds it may compromise child safety.
Wilson Parking/Tournament Parking merger
Tournament parking is proposing to sell its 80+ carparking sites to Wilson Parking, and the Commerce Commission is investigating whether this will lead to a lack of competition in the carparking market. The AA has submitted that it will, and we recommend if a merger proceeds that it should be subject to regulation of privately-owned carpark operators.
Road User Amendment Rule - child restraints
NZTA is proposing to amend the rules around the mandatory use of child restraints, by extending the age of use to children up to 7 years of age. The AA’s submission supports this change but contends it doesn’t go far enough, and instead it should be mandatory for children up to 11 years of age or 148cm height.
Road User Charges - changes to vehicle types and weight bands
The Ministry of Transport have proposed consequential changes to definitions of vehicle types and weight bands in the RUC regulations (subsequently adopted). These include adding a new weight band to vehicle Type 1 to align RUC charges with similar Type 2 vehicles, and creating a new ‘vintage’ category for heavy vehicles which incurs a lower RUC rate to recognise that they operate unladen. The AA’s submission supported these proposals which address anomalies within the new RUC system. However, while it is pleasing these issues are being addressed for the relatively small the number of vintage truck owners or heavy Type 1 vehicles, the AA is disappointed that the anomalies faced by some 217,000 diesel car owners remain, and we call for a lower RUC levy for vehicles under 2,000kg to be introduced.
Financial Assistance Rate
The AA recently made a submission on the NZ Transport Agency’s (NZTA) proposed changes to its Financial Assistance Rate (FAR) for local transport projects, which seeks to define the fundamental principles and approaches for allocating FAR. The current FAR for road maintenance is based on need (total cost of the road maintenance for the District) and ability to pay (rating valuations).
The AA recommends starting with the status quo and progressively incorporating an active approach that incentivises local bodies to put forward projects that are good value for money, benefit the whole roading network and support consistent standards through the road classification system. The AA also supports incentives for local bodies to operate more cost-effectively.
The AA opposes a flat FAR (a simplistic ‘level playing field’ approach. NZTA should set FARs that achieve the best value outcomes for the whole roading network. The AA also recommends there should be different FARs for different organisations and activities as this will deliver better value for money. The AA also opposes passive ‘bulk funding’ approaches where each local body is given a share of national funds. The AA instead supports NZTA becoming a more active funding partner with greater input on which activities should be funded.
The AA also recommends including road safety as a key principle and believes that FARs need to reflect network resilience (e.g. where a local road is the alternative route in a road closure and needs to be of a higher standard because it sometimes has to carry high traffic volumes).
Vehicle Standards Compliance Rule
The NZTA has consulted on an amendment to the Vehicle Standards Compliance Rule, which introduces the changes to WoF frequency which the government announced in January. The Rule proposes to phase-in the annual frequency for a wider range of vehicles from October this year, which is earlier than originally signalled.
The draft rule proposes that light vehicles first registered 2004-2008 will receive a 12 month WoF following a successful inspection from 1 October this year, while cars and motorcycles registered between 2000 and 2003 will roll over to an annual WoF from 1 April 2014. The phase-in is intended to smooth the impact of the changes on the inspection industry which would otherwise create uneven demand for WoFs throughout the year.
The AA’s submission supports the proposed amendments, provided the implementation programme is fully resourced, and that NZTA system changes are tested and ready before October, while education and enforcement programmes are also fully developed and ready to be implemented from October.