Wednesday, 6 May 2009

Warrants of unfitness

The Land Transport busybodies are boasting they’ve shut down a record number of “offending” garages for issuing what the jobsworths say are "dodgy" Warrants of Fitness.

This is appalling.

It only makes it harder to find someone to issue a Warrant for my own classic.

And it makes you wonder who exactly certifies the busybodies to be fit to boss us around – and exactly how fit they are?


  1. There are undoubtedly many instances of elderly British cars leaving dozens of dead in their wake as they drive past with dodgy WOFs (presumably 9 or 10 kms over the speed limit), so they would have been forced to take action in the interests of public safety.

    Personally I find the numbers on the little card on the windscreen don't seem to affect the performance of the vehicle, and on those occasions where the numbers would have been officially frowned upon, the vehicle somehow still managed to make it to its destination intact without killing too many people.

  2. Roads are shared by all sorts of road users in all sorts of vehicles. You would be complaining loudly, if one of them crashed into your classic, merely because the steering, suspension or brakes failed at the wrong moment.

    It is reasonable to expect that those with whom we share the roads are also driving vehicles that are "roadworthy". (Sure, we can agree that many of the components of "roadworthiness" are petty bureaucratic boxes to tick that don't actually make vehicles safer -- but the general principle applies.)

  3. I suppose I could point out that when once you've given away the general principle, then your life, liberty and much beloved classic car essentially belong to the box tickers.

  4. WWallace:

    The "general principle" also presumes that the box-tickers know what they're talking about.

    Do you have any idea of the harm they can cause innocent parties when they get it wrong? And the smaller the affected business, the bigger the problem.

    In our years of experience in another industry, the box-tickers do much more harm than good. They really do have absolute power. It's frightening.

    People like you who support their existence are very much part of the problem.

    (Anonymous for very good reason)

  5. People like you who support their [the box tickers'] existence are very much part of the problem.I can understand your anonymity when you make groundless accusations like that.

    Imagine you own a toll road. People pay to use it. Someone in large old car with no brakes ploughs into the back of my car in the fog, killing my children.

    What use is "life, liberty" etc when that happens?

    What responsibility do you, as toll road owner, have? What minimum safety standards will you require of your customers' vehicles? Or will it be merely "survival of the heaviest"?

  6. "What use is "life, liberty" etc when that happens?"

    Well, I would of thought that life would be the number one concern after a car-crash. But I guess making sure the guy that rammed me had a magic sticker would be pretty important to...

  7. I think we all probably agree with WWallace that it's irresponsible to go driving round with a car that's patently dangerous, however some of us have been in a position where we have had an older classic car that we drive very little and take very good care of, but have been unneccessarily persecuted by the bureaucrats when going to do the six monthly paperwork, so we get a bit grumpy about the whole concept of someone else telling us what's going to cause an accident and what's not based on standardised conditions.

    In reality, it would be much more productive to just take every Nissan Pulsar, Mitsubishi Chariot, and Honda Odyssey off the roads. You'd halve the number of accidents in one fell swoop.

  8. WWallace

    Imagine you actually knew what you were writing about. Naaah! That would be pretending a furphy was true.

    Since when did a warrant of fitness inspection and sticker make a car safe, let alone road-worthy? Whatever leads you to think that it would? State worshiping nonsense...

    Fact is that such inspections are cursory at best and represent nothing more than yet another rort to gouge motorists.


  9. PC, Wallace is right. You're advocating for anarchy, which is not what Ayn Rand stood for. I hope that you (or any of your relatives) never ever run head-on into a vehicle driven by an asian driver somewhere that doesn't hold a driver's license.

  10. According to the AA's own figures, unroadworthy cars account for less than 10% of accidents.
    What's needed is a more meaningful check of the nuts behind the wheel, but that'd mean actually doing something meaningful about the awful standard of driving in NZ.
    My old ute failed a warrant test recently (at a VTNZ testing station) because one headlight was slightly dimmer than the other. Never mind that oncoming drivers often fail to dip theirs...
    And in a couple of Australian states there's no such thing as a wof, yet their road toll is no worse than ours. Rather better, I suspect.

  11. Beehive--PC is talking about warrant of fitness checks, not licenses.
    And what the hell is anarchic about objecting to a bureaucratic imposition that's mindlessly rigid?

  12. A license or a wof does not mean you or your vehicle is/are "safe." The very notion is moronic!

    Time to check your premise.

    The roads are "public property". That means they are either:

    1/. un-owned (that is, nobody owns them, they are freely available to all)


    2/. owned by EVERYONE (that is, they are equally owned by every member of the public)

    As a consequence of either of these options every individual is quite able to use the roads without arbitrary restriction. Paraphrasing WWallace- the roads are there to share and share you shall, even with those you do not like. Funnily enough, both he and you wish to deny everyone the freedom to use what is in effect already theirs (or theirs to take). You are discriminating against those folk who lack wof or license. How prejudicial and biassed!

    The problem disappears should you stop and consider the situation from first principles. This all boils down to a matter of private property- who owns what. If the roads were in specific private ownership, then there is no problem. Otherwise...

    Think on it.


  13. My post was meant to be addressed to Beehive


  14. KG: According to the AA's own figures, unroadworthy cars account for less than 10% of accidents.It could be argued that this shows that WoF standards are mostly working. By having a WoF, it makes high-mileage cars with worn out wheel bearings, steering rack bushes, leaking master cylinders and/or cracked chassis rails uneconomic to keep on the road. Personally, I'm happier that such vehicles are deemed "unroadworthy".

    LGM seems to have overlooked my earlier mention of toll roads. I submit that the problem still exists on a privately owned toll road. How are you going to decide which vehicles are "up to standard" to use the road, and which ones are not?

  15. The appropriate approach is to let the road owner decide on what vehicles to allow on the roads under what conditions. Having a WOF equivalent would exist in a libertarian world, probably linked to annual registration (as identifying vehicles is important to road owners).

    However, in NZ ACC corrupts the liability a road owner would have in letting unfit vehicles use its property, or indeed a vehicle owner would have in using it. Even if ACC was privatised and competitive, no road owner would pay the monstrous fees a private accident insurer would charge for covering unfit vehicles. If there was no ACC, the road owner would face a negligence lawsuit because a reasonable road user would not expect to share the road with unfit vehicles.

    It may be that a highway operator bans unfit vehicles, but local streets are owned by a body corporate that allows any vehicles as long as they respect speed limits. Who knows how it would work, and nobody should be expected to define it now.

    Because ACC exists, there ends up being regulatory measures taken to protect safety (H&S). So for now, WOFs exist - though I'd let the vehicle owners define what they are, and privatise them.

  16. WWallace..if I stood on a street corner clicking my fingers to keep the elephants away, it could be argued that the absence of elephants proves the finger-clicking is working.
    In my youth, we drove some pretty dodgy cars thousands of miles--and not at low speeds. But growing up with cars that didn't have anti-lock brakes and all the safety systems we take for granted nowadays, we learned to drive within the limits of the vehicle's capabilities. And within the limits set by road and weather conditions. Cars don't kill people. People do, though.

  17. Libertyscott

    It is certainly possible that a private road owner may choose to allow what you or I may consider "risky" or "unsafe" vehicles to use his road. So long as he makes this known (a sign would suffice), there is no problem. By driving on HIS road one accepts the risk of so doing. It is HIS road and one was warned about the terms and condition of use.


  18. WWallace

    Yes. I noticed your rather dull questions refering to toll roads. You needed to consider the context of what is being discussed.

    Assuming a private system the answers to your questions are trivial.

    "What responsibility do you, as toll road owner, have?"

    Your first responsibility is to inform other individuals whether they are allowed to use your property and, if so, what your terms and conditions of use are. You must do what you represent you will do.

    "What minimum safety standards will you require of your customers' vehicles?"

    None. I would choose to allow certain particular individuals and organisation to use my roads. All others would be refused entry and if detected on my properties would be treated as trespassers.


  19. The last time we had a car fail a warrant it wasn't for being unroadworthy at all - it was just smoking a bit too much. The car was totally roadworthy and safe, and extremely reliable.

    We kept driving it until we had pulled another car out of the paddock and got it going to replace it. Now this completely roadworthy car is confined to the farm, where it can continue to smoke as much as it likes. We just have to drive a less safe vehicle on the road that happens to pass the test.

    I do agree you need to drive a safe vehicle. But whether a test is an effective way to achieve that is questionable.


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