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NZTA plans to whack motorists, towies, and taxis with higher fees

NZTA's proposed changes to motor vehicle licensing and registration fees will whack productive New Zealanders with higher costs, warns the New Zealand Taxpayers' Union.

NZTA is pitching its fee changes as a kind of tax switch, reducing the cost of certain applications and increasing the cost of others. But the overall effect of the changes is a tax grab that makes a mockery of the 'no new taxes' promise – NZTA is expected to collect an additional $79 million in annual revenue as a result of its fee changes, plus another $35 million taken from the Land Transport Fund.

Losers from the proposals include:

•  Everyone renewing their vehicle registration (administration fees attached to charges increase by between 61% and 350%).

•  Anyone paying road user charges (administration fees attached to charges increase by between 67% and 182%)

•  Disabled vehicle users ($19 increase in certification cost for vehicle wheelchair modifications)

•  New Taxi and Uber drivers (181% increase in 1-year P endorsement charges)

•  New driving instructors and testing officers (161% increase in new 1-year I and O endorsement charges)

•  New tow truck drivers and vehicle transporters (161% increase in new 1-year V endorsement charges)

•  New forklift and roller drivers (39% increase in endorsement charges)

•  Restricted license drivers working night shifts or transporting children (249% increase in exemption charges)

Winners include:

•  Convicted drink drivers (85% decrease in Alcohol Interlock Licence cost)

•  Collectors of exotic vehicles (80% reduction in registration exemption cost for left-hand drive vehicles)

•  Drivers who fail their license tests (removal of re-sit fees)

•  NZTA / Waka Kotahi (a 40% increase in revenue to be spent on regulatory enforcement)

The only real winner here is the bureaucracy at NZTA, which plans to employ an additional 265 full-time equivalent staff  a 55.6% increase on 2018 numbers. The consultation document also points out that increased costs to businesses as a result of these changes are likely to flow on to households through increased prices for goods and services.

The increase in licensing costs for new towies, taxi drivers, and forklift operators will have disturbing flow-on effects. Licensing costs act as a barrier for low-income New Zealanders considering upskilling, and the higher fees will exacerbate existing skills shortages, driving up costs that are ultimately passed on to households and consumers.

Some of the changes are absurd: NZTA plans to increase the price of sitting a restricted license by 21% but remove the fee to re-sit if you fail. This is effectively a tax on those who put in the time to practice and pass on their first attempt, to subsidise those who fail one or more times. It will encourage learner drivers to use restricted tests as de facto taxpayer-funded driving lessons. Private driving instructors should be very worried.

These changes come at a time when New Zealanders are already squeezed by record fuel prices, newly introduced ute taxes that subsidise wealthy Tesla drivers, and eye-watering wasteful spending on pet projects paid for by the National Land Transport Fund and the Auckland Regional Fuel Tax.

$15 billion for a tram line in Auckland, $50 million planning a bridge that won't be built, and $197 million for the Road to Zero publicity campaign are all examples of spending that could be trimmed back or eliminated if NZTA really needs more money for regulatory costs. Moreover, NZTA should respond to rising costs by streamlining its regulatory processes to ensure less, not more, bureaucracy is needed.

New Zealanders can submit on the fee changes by emailing [email protected].

Showing 1 reaction

  • Louis Houlbrooke
    published this page in News 2022-04-06 15:41:50 +1200

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