Waka Kotahi NZ Transport Agency has taken steps to encourage the removal of more impounded vehicles from the side of State Highways in a move that will make New Zealand’s roads safer and improve the national vehicle fleet in the process.
Waka Kotahi is increasing the rebate for tow operators and storage providers from $102.40 to $253 from today (Friday, May 1) for vehicles that have been placed in storage following impoundment by New Zealand Police and the owner has failed to claim it.
On average, around 2800 rebates are paid per year but because the rebate has remained at $102.40 since 2002, storage providers were often unable to recoup their costs for collecting the vehicle, storing the vehicle and selling it if the owner avoided payment of the fees for towage and storage by not claiming it.
This created a problem in rural areas in particular, as it was not financially viable for towage operators and storage providers to collect these vehicles from some distance away, store and then dispose of the vehicle.
While operators can recoup some costs by obtaining ownership of the vehicle and selling it, or by deregistering and scrapping it, they are frequently out of pocket when the vehicle has low resale value.
The increased rebate aims to support the work of tow operators who make the impoundment regime work.
The increased rebate also has the potential to help remove more unsafe and abandoned vehicles from New Zealand’s vehicle fleet when vehicles are deregistered and scrapped. Vehicles that aren’t claimed are often of low value and have 1-or-2-star safety ratings.
Police can impound vehicles in response to specific offences such as driving while disqualified, street racing, or repeat drink-driving. There is a direct safety benefit to other road users if these offences are prevented.