Wow who knew there were so many farms in Remuera or have some locals just started taking the term Remuera Tractor a bit too literally.
Motorists are evading hundreds of dollars in vehicle licensing fees by incorrectly registering their cars as farm vehicles.
It follows the revelation earlier this week that hundreds of drivers were falsely registering their cars as ambulances to save more than $200 in fees.
Other categories, including farm vehicles, also pay reduced fees, which one testing station owner says is being exploited by some drivers of Remuera tractors.
Farm vehicles fall under the Class B category, which are exempt from paying ACC levies, fuel excise and excise duty.
The classification relates to vehicles which are designed for agricultural operations and have restricted use on public roads. Alan Parker, who owns a vehicle testing station in Auckland’s eastern suburbs, said he often sees cars with central Auckland addresses come into the testing station for a Warrant of Fitness that are registered as farm vehicles.
“When we go to enter them into the system we get red flags come up about these vehicles,” he said.
“A farm vehicle sometimes doesn’t need a warrant, so we override it and we tell the system we’re inspecting them as private vehicles.”
Such customers were typically from wealthy suburbs, he said.
“There’s so many up in Remuera that are registered as farm vehicles, Toyota [Land Cruiser] Prados and that,” he said. “And maybe these people do legitimately own farms, but they’re not legitimately using that vehicle for farm use. It gives the name the Remuera tractor a new slant.”
Other customers were struggling beneficiaries, he said.
“Sometimes I can’t blame them for doing it because they’ve got nothing, and at least they’re not picking up a $250 fine for no rego.”
Typically the licensing fee for a petrol-powered Exempt Class B vehicle is $50.22, the NZ Transport Agency said, compared with $280.55 for a petrol-driven passenger car.
At over $200 for a petrol vehicle it doesn’t take too long to rack up over $100,000 in licencing fees that should go to the government while for a diesel vehicle this could be even more as a Class B exemption also means the owner doesn’t need to pay Road User Charges.
As the article mentions it isn’t only farm vehicles that people claim their vehicle as with a lot also claiming their vehicles as ambulances.
Hundreds of motorists are falsely registering their cars as ambulances, avoiding more than $200 in fees.
The NZ Transport Agency said last month’s figures showed 2681 vehicles were registered as ambulances.
But St John and the Wellington Free Ambulance services have only 705 registered ambulances between them – meaning up to 1976 private vehicles could be falsely registered.
An ACC levy exemption for ambulances means it costs only $52.11 a year to register a non-commercial ambulance, compared with $280.55 for a petrol-driven passenger car – a difference of $228.44.
The difference is even greater for commercial vehicles, which cost up to $590.78 to register.
The total loss in levies to ACC is at least $392,500 a year.
A couple of hundred thousand or perhaps even as much as a million per year might seem small compared to the billions collected annually from the NZTA’s funding sources however it still represents a large sum of money. It also seems like this would be something fairly easy to resolve as after all the NZTA should have the address for the owner of each vehicle so surely they shouldn’t be too difficult to track down.