New vehicle rules will reduce cost for rural sector

  • Michael Woodhouse

New rules for agricultural vehicles will reduce compliance costs while maintaining safety standards, says Associate Transport Minister Michael Woodhouse.

Mr Woodhouse has signed changes to Land Transport (Driver Licensing) Rule 1999 and seven other Land Transport Rules that will offer agricultural vehicle owners improved compliance and greater operational flexibility from 1 June 2013.

“This Government recognises that the primary sector remains the powerhouse of New Zealand’s economy and we want to remove unnecessary costs and red tape,” says Mr Woodhouse.

The Ministry of Transport estimates that changes will result in a net benefit of $51 million over 25 years.

A two-tier system for agricultural vehicles will be established based on a 40km/h operating speed. Vehicles operating below this speed will be exempt from warrant of fitness and work time requirements.

“Safety remains a high priority and changes require that agricultural vehicles registered from when the law takes effect to use a flashing amber beacon when used on-road to alert other road users to the presence of agricultural vehicles.

“A new licence endorsement will also allow a greater range of agricultural vehicles to be driven by the holder of a Class 1 (car) licence once they prove they have the skills to do so,” says Mr Woodhouse.

Other changes improve and simplify the rules on pilot vehicles, work time variation schemes, hazard identification and vehicle visibility.

They follow a review into the law regulating New Zealand’s 40,000 registered agricultural vehicles in response to sector concerns that the law ignored the special nature of agricultural vehicles or the demands of agricultural production.

Mr Woodhouse says industry groups will be working with their members to raise awareness of on-road agricultural vehicle safety and visibility.

“Farmers and contractors frequently work long and irregular hours. Crops need to be harvested when they are ready and when the weather is right.

“The law on the use of agricultural vehicles needs to be fit for purpose and these changes better reflect the needs of this very important sector while reflecting the Government’s focus on better and less regulation.”

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