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Motor Industry Obtains Interim Court Order on Microdots

1 Apr 2008


The Motor Industry Association, which represents new vehicle distributors, has applied for and obtained an interim court order in relation to the proposed imposition of Whole of Vehicle Marking (WOVM) to all passenger vehicles entering the New Zealand fleet. The order effectively prevents the Government from progressing with the implementation of WOVM before the outcome of a High Court hearing scheduled for August. The application was not opposed by the Government.

“This is a significant decision,” said Perry Kerr, CEO of the Motor Industry Association, “and we are pleased to have the opportunity to present our case to the High Court. There is no solid evidence that microdots will have other than a minimal effect on the rate at which vehicles are stolen in New Zealand. The only beneficiaries of this clumsy and expensive process will be the suppliers of microdots.”

“We at the MIA don’t want to appear ambivalent about vehicle theft,” said Mr. Kerr, “and that is why we are deadly serious about promoting anti-theft measures which will actually work (such as retro-fitting immobilisers to older vehicles) and taking every step available to us to prevent the imposition of a process which will only make vehicles more expensive for no discernable benefit. We are driven to the courts because of the serious implications of this unnecessary imposition on the cost of new cars as well as on the logistics of the distribution process.”

“Unfortunately we have to rely on a police database of stolen vehicles which is far from comprehensive, but even by the police’s own admission between 70 and 80% of vehicle theft in New Zealand is for joyriding purposes,” Mr. Kerr said. “WOVM will do nothing to prevent these thefts. Of the remainder, the records show that the vast majority are older model vehicles not fitted with modern anti-theft devices such as electronic immobilisers. These vehicles will escape the WOVM net.”

Mr. Kerr has some even more compelling data. “For the year to August 2007, during which 67,030 new cars were registered, just five 2007 model cars were recorded as having been stolen, yet the new car industry would be expected to fork out the best part of $24 million to microdot all 67,000, with no guarantee that any of the five wouldn’t have been stolen anyway.”

Some specialised later model vehicles are targeted by professional thieves for the value of their parts, however most of these (eg. Subaru, Mitsubishi Evos, HSV) are already WOVM protected in addition to their standard immobilisers. “If there was a real benefit in WOVM the insurance industry would be driving the issue,” said Mr. Kerr, “but the vehicles that already have the additional protection of WOVM get no recognition in the form of reduced premiums, so the insurance industry clearly doesn’t see WOVM as significantly reducing the incidence of theft.”

“We believe we owe it to our members and to the car-buying public to halt the introduction of this ill-conceived legislation, hence our decision to take it to the High Court,” Mr. Kerr concluded.