First meeting for airbag recall group

Commerce and Consumer Affairs Minister Kris Faafoi met with the Takata airbag oversight group at its first meeting in Wellington last night.

Mr Faafoi thanked members for their willingness to work together in order to make quick progress and remove dangerous airbags from New Zealand vehicles.

“I asked the group to provide me with robust feedback on how this process is going and advice on how we can get more airbags replaced more quickly.

“We know New Zealanders have taken this compulsory recall seriously, with around 250,000 users visiting the website since last week and around 1.5 million page views of the site but we need to keep momentum up and ensure drivers and passengers are protected from the risk of unsafe airbags by having as many as possible replaced, as quickly as possible.”

A compulsory recall was issued last week for 50,000 vehicles that have Takata Alpha-type airbags  and new measures were put in place for the recall of a further 257,000 vehicles with Takata airbags also requiring repair. Measures were introduced to halt vehicles with affected airbags being brought into New Zealand, and vehicles with affected airbags cannot now be sold in trade.

Members of the oversight group include representatives from MBIE, NZTA, NZ Customs Service, the Motor Industry Association (MIA), Vehicle Importers Association (VIA), the AA and Consumer New Zealand.

“This group will meet monthly until the compulsory recall is concluded at the end of 2019 and will report on progress of the recall of both Alpha and non-Alpha type airbags,” Mr Faafoi says. “I will be attending where possible and I am ready to hear from the group if at any time they don’t think we are making the progress we need.

“Announcing the recall I noted there are other measures we can take including flagging vehicles at warrant of fitness if they have airbags that still require replacement. If I am not completely convinced progress is adequate and that everything possible is being done to ensure replacement of these airbags – which have been a known risk since 2013 – I will not hesitate to act further.”

The compulsory recall is focussed on Alpha-type airbags because they present the highest safety risks to drivers and passengers.