Report on the Recycle your Ride scrappage trial

The Recycle your Ride vehicle scrappage trial was held in Christchurch and Wellington in 2009 and followed an earlier Auckland pilot. The trial offered incentives to encourage motorists to scrap vehicles that were nearing the end of their life. New Zealand’s vehicle fleet is much older than those in other countries. Older vehicles are often less safe and more polluting than modern cars.

Questions and answers for the 2009 vehicle scrappage trial

What was the vehicle scrappage trial?

The vehicle scrappage trial allowed people in Christchurch and Wellington areas to hand in their vehicles to selected scrap metal companies. The scheme offered incentives and the chance to win a brand new Toyota Corolla diesel car.

The trial ran for four weeks during May 2009. Vehicles scrapped at participating scrap metal dealers which met the criteria received incentive prizes.

Why was this trial held?

The trial was held to support research on the best ways of encouraging vehicle owners to remove older vehicles out of the fleet. New Zealand’s vehicle fleet has one of the oldest average ages in the developed world (12.49 years in 2009). Older vehicles lack the safety benefits and emissions standards of modern cars. In addition, data gathered from the trial can tell us more about the vehicles in the New Zealand fleet that are near the end of their working life.

What did the trial find out?

The trials showed that a nationwide scrappage scheme was unlikely to be cost effective due to the low number of vehicles received and the relatively low overall social and environmental benefits, relative to the costs.

The trial also gathered a range of data on the safety and emissions of vehicles in the New Zealand fleet that are near the end of their working life.

Was the trial worthwhile?

Yes. Holding a trial was the most effective way of finding whether there are potential benefits in a nationwide scrappage scheme, and also provided much needed safety and environmental information about vehicles in the New Zealand fleet that are near the end of their working life.

How many vehicles were scrapped through the trial?

Three hundred and forty-nine vehicles were collected during the trial, and of these, one hundred and twenty-two met the trial’s criteria of being operable, holding a Warrant of Fitness (WoF), or being within two months expiry of a WoF. Accident damaged vehicles were accepted if they were roadworthy.

What did people get for scrapping their vehicles?

Motorists whose vehicles met the scrapping criteria and were among the first 150 in each city to scrap their vehicle, received a Metro Card or Snapper Card loaded with $250. The participating vehicle recyclers also gave them the opportunity to go in the draw to win a brand new Toyota Corolla diesel car. Those who were not among the first 150 but met the scrapping criteria went in the draw for the car.

Radio stations in both centres also ran promotions for the trial and offered additional prizes and competitions during May 2009.

Why was the scheme only run in Wellington and Christchurch?

The Wellington and Christchurch trail scheme followed on from a successful Pilot Scrappage Scheme which was run in Auckland in 2007. Due to the difference in vehicle population and vehicle age in Wellington and Christchurch, a follow up trial scheme was developed to gather further data which could potentially be used for the development of policy and options around a long term scrappage programme. A report on the results of the Auckland pilot is available.

Are there plans for further scrappage trials in other cities?

The Ministry is not currently planning any further scrappage trials. The Wellington and Christchurch trials showed that a nationwide scrappage scheme was unlikely to be cost effective due to the low number of vehicles received and the relatively low overall social and environmental benefits, relative to the costs. 

The Ministry of Transport will be considering what alternatives to scrappage schemes could be used for encouraging end of life vehicles to be scrapped. The government is also looking at other ways of improving the safety of New Zealand’s vehicles as part of Safer Journeys: New Zealand’s Road Safety Strategy 2010-2020.

What happened to vehicles handed in under the trial?

Vehicles that were accepted for the trial were recycled responsibly. Inspections were conducted on these cars to assess their level of emissions and safety.

Vehicles did not go back onto the road. The participating vehicle recyclers gave owners the number plates to take to the local post shop to deregister the vehicle. This ensured that the Motor Vehicle Register is up-to-date. Only owners of vehicles which had been deregistered were eligible to win the Toyota Corolla.

Owners were also asked to complete a simple questionnaire.

What type of vehicles were scrapped?

The project targeted vehicles that had just failed, or were likely to fail, a
Warrant of Fitness.

I missed out on the trial, how can I dispose of my vehicle?

People with unwanted vehicles who missed out on the trial should consider taking them to a vehicle recycler. In most cases they will be able to sell their car as scrap metal.

When was the raffle for the new car drawn?

The raffle for the Toyota Corolla diesel car provided by participating scrap metal dealers was drawn by the Chief Executive of the Ministry of Transport in 2009 and the winner has received the car.

How much did the trial cost?

The Ministry of Transport, together with the NZ Transport Agency, Environment Canterbury, Wellington Scrap Metals, and Metalcorp NZ jointly funded the trial. Not including staff time, the project costs were just over $150,000.

Is any additional work currently underway on end of life vehicles?

Yes, Ministry of Transport staff are currently preparing a presentation on the trials for the Scrap Metal Association of New Zealand conference which is scheduled for the end of July 2010. Ministry staff are also investigating ways to assist public awareness on vehicle scrapping as an option for end of life vehicles.