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Motor Vehicles and Insurance

For more information concerning vehicle ownership, please visit www.ltsa.govt.nz.

Car prices are considerably lower than in SA. A dependable small car can be bought for as little as $3,000.00 to $6,000.00. It is a good idea to buy a modestly priced first vehicle on arrival, and to buy a better one once you are established. The original car can then be used as a second vehicle. To rent a car is expensive, which is why it is easier to buy a cheap car on arrival.

As is the case in SA, vehicles are licensed annually and the costs vary according to the kind of vehicle.

Currently:
Petrol engines:         $183.22
Diesel engines:         $281.00
(This is the starting amount. It differs according to make and model.)

In NZ, there are additional expenses as a Warrant of Fitness (WOF) has to be issued annually for every car. Vehicles that are six years or older must get a WOF every six months. A WOF, which is easy and cheap to acquire, is really just a road safety certificate. The costs amount to $43.22, but this can vary from one testing station to another.

People fill their cars up themselves at the petrol stations. Each pump is numbered, and after filling up, they go and pay inside the station, quoting the pump number. Some of the petrol stations are equipped with Eftpos facilities so that people can pay at the pump and don’t even have to go to the man behind the counter. The road rules in NZ are similar to those in SA, and it is not a major adjustment to drive here. On the contrary, given that the average Kiwi is law abiding and that the speed limit is 50km per hour in urban areas and 100km per hour on the State Highway, it is less of a hassle to drive here than in South Africa.
The single, largest difference between SA road rules and those of NZ apply when you wish to turn left and another car approaching you wishes to turn to his right into the same street that you are trying to turn into. In SA, as the driver on the left of the road, you gave way, but in NZ the exact opposite applies. The person coming from the other side has the right to turn to his right and you have to give way. Essentially, what this means is that he turns right in front of you and you have to wait until it is your turn to do so.

A UK driver’s licence is valid for 12 months, calculated from date of arrival in NZ. Within this 12 month period you must convert to a NZ driver’s licence. This is easy and it is best to get it over and done with as soon as you arrive here.

Apart from the fact that the document you obtain is a valid NZ driver’s licence, it also serves the purpose of identification. NZ does not have identity documents, and passports and driver’s licences serve as identity documents.

The costs associated with acquiring a driver’s licences are as follows:
Purchase of a Road Code book   $25.00 (This book can be taken out of the library free of charge.)

Test Fees                                      $85

The Automobile Association (AA), amongst others, offers these tests. While we are on the topic of the AA, it is handy to know that, as is the case in UK, the AA here provides road maps and various other benefits. Visit www.aa.co.nz

For online road maps, see
www.wises.co.nz and www.nzmaps.co.nz

The State highways, or Motorways as they are called in UK, are not in the same class as UK roads—excepting they twist and wind, which explains why there is a speed limit of 100km in place. Generally, the roads are in a good condition.
 Young people start driving at the age of 16, which is when they can acquire a learner’s licence to which certain conditions apply. At 17, they acquire an unrestricted or full licence.

Insurance of motor vehicles and personal possessions is advisable. The premiums are reasonable, given that there is less theft in NZ. However, it is still not advisable to tempt thieves by leaving laptop computers and other valuable items on the seat for all to see, or to leave the car unlocked.
With regard to insurance, do your research and make comparisons. There are several companies that offer different packages at varying premiums. Having opened a bank account and bought a car, the next thing you should do is to insure your car. Once you have been here for about three months and your possessions have arrived, or you have acquired new possessions, you can do further research and change form on insurer to another if necessary. (Consult the Yellow Pages Insurance Companies and Offices).

Basic short term insurance for a car and house contents should not exceed $70 per month.