Thursday, April 16, 2015

RISKY IMPORTS - BAD POLICY!

Australia is fast becoming a policy-free zone for politicians, on both sides of the political fence. Neither the government nor the Opposition has produced any credible, commonsense policies since the current parliament began sitting.

When they do, they're daft, not thought through, and usually ignoring unintended consequences. If this sounds like the country is in chaos, you're not far from the truth.

Enter our current Prime Minister (Tony Abbott, below).



His government (in its wisdom, NOT!) has decided to change the current vehicle import regulations to allow importation of cars which are: current model, with less than 4,000km on the odometer, in order to widen consumer choice! This is BAD policy.

Why? First, because it makes a nonsense of the reasons for Australian Design Rules (ADRs), and second, because there is then no control over the quality of the cars imported (see: rebirthed, crashed and rebuilt cars from Europe/USA).

That in itself suggests the politicians haven't thought this through, but who does this change benefit? It's hard to tell, because this current (conservative) government makes decisions 'on the run' - so even if you asked Tony Abbott, why? He probably couldn't give you a cogent response. He's not good on his feet, when his CoS Ms. Peta Credlin hasn't provided a script for him!

There are a large number of safety reasons why Australia should not relax vehicle import rules, but most important of all, as it is with all legislation, in all countries. Once you introduce it, it can be ammended later, and then you have no control of the process - because it is then a function of the government of day, and whomever are the most effective lobbyists.

Answer? Don't change the current rules. Australians are NOT going to get cheaper cars overnight; the imports won't necessarily adhere to current safety legislation (insisted on by the government), and the insurance industry will have a field day, jacking up policy premiums (to cover the unknown sins of the imports). Not to mention the Used Car Dealers, who will all now be able to easily afford second homes in Hawaii!

New Zealand has many policies Australian governments could easily adapt, which would improve our lives, but free-for-all imports of used cars is not one of them.
Old Japanese cars landing on the New Zealand docks

Years ago, when you visited NZ the cars on the road ranged from New (not many) to a large variety of Used rust-buckets, decades old, which were mobile death traps. Now, New Zealand roads carry a fruit salad of used Japanese cars of varying vintages, so there's no cohesive alignment with vehicle crash safety, and when you do need parts for these cars they are exhorbitantly expensive to import and purchase! Why? Because there are BIG profits to be made from the mugs who buy these 'cheap' cars.

Australians can't demand a new election to rid ourselves of the current federal government, because the Socialist opposition is even more hopeless than the lot currently running the country.

Any hope for us? No, we just have to grin and bear it. And watch Insurance companies and Used Car Dealers get richer by the minute.

ADDED NOTE: Before offering any defense for this ludicrous policy change think about a serious new addition to the sources of sub-standard cars - China!

There are a large number of current model Chinese designed-and-made cars which do not meet ADRs, and are a long way from acheiving basic safety standards (after all, these cars are not required to meet our standards in the first place).

Just wait until some smart-arse Australian used car company decides that cheap cars from China can be imported (slide in) under the new rules. The company will make profits, the cars will kill people, and the Federal Government (under Tony Abbott) will 'hold an enquiry'?

Here in Australia we must be really bad (or really stupid) if we get the 'government' we deserve! With perhaps NSW being a slight exception, our Federal and each of our State Governments are a pathetic collection of 'leaderless forces', lacking vision, confidence, integrity and above all, statesmenship.

Conclusion? "We're stuffed!"


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