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NZ Warrant of Fitness (WoFs) extensions could have dire consequences for COVID-hit workshops

As part of national COVID-19 relief measures, the New Zealand Transport Agency is allowing vehicle owners a reprieve on mandatory Warrants of Fitness (WoFs) checks until October 10, but the NZ Motor Transport Association warns this could result in years of havoc for both workshop owners and motorists if left unrevised as lockdown restrictions lift.

The MTA is concerned that if every vehicle that had its WoF expire since January 1 this year could lead to half of all the cars in New Zealand needing their WoF in October, causing an annual glut and disruption for workshops that collectively conduct half a million WoFs a month across the nation.

However, the NZ Transport Agency has said te October 10 grace period had been given during the uncertain early days of the pandemic, in order that authorities would have enough time to revise their decisions as COVID-19 played out.

According to MTA NZ, around 41 per cent of vehicles fail their annual WoF and some workshops derive more than 60 per cent of their workload from WoF checks and repairs. If the workload became concentrated in October, the extreme seasonality would be particularly tough on these businesses, the organisation warns.

MTA NZ has recommended a tapered approach that would provide WoFs that expired during lockdown with up to eight weeks’ grace, followed by reducing extensions for those expiring in June and July. In addition, giving these WoFs an expiry date within 12 months of the original would restore the national checking cycle to how it was pre-COVID-19.

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