Reporter: Kevin Milne
Fair Go has established that anyone can register someone else's car in their name without the true owner being aware of it.
All someone has to do is take a note of the rego number, go to a Postshop and fill out a Request for Motor Vehicle Details form, and get the name and address of owner as well as details of the make model and chassis number of the vehicle.
With this information they can fill out a Notice of Change of Ownership of a Motor Vehicle form, and the car is immediately put in their name.
Fair Go has serious concerns that the change of ownership can be affected without the owner (seller) playing a role in certifying the change. Not only that, Fair Go's concerned that private information about car owners, for example their home address, is available to anyone no matter what their motive.
Fair Go also considers it inadequate that cars reported as stolen are not flagged on computers at Postshops. This means that a car thief can register a car they've stolen into their name before on-selling it.
The law regulating change of ownership and the motor vehicle register comes under the ministry of Transport ...but the LTSA administers the procedures.
Fair Go is urging the LTSA and the Ministry of Transport to change the procedures surrounding the change of ownership so that no change occurs until both the seller and the buyer have given their written approval. Fair Go also considers that personal details on the Motor Vehicle Register should not be made available to all and sundry. And cars reported as stolen should be flagged at Postshops so that they cannot change ownership prior to further investigation.
The LTSA's Andy Kackstedt told Fair Go the ease of use of the system also leads to ease of abuse. The Ministry and the LTSA will be looking at the criticisms Fair Go has raised. We'll keep you posted.
Reporter: Eleisha McNeill
Air New Zealand's latest catch-phrase is "being there is everything" - which is fine if you can get there. But a recent policy change has made flying harder for the disabled community.
Donna-Rose McKay has severe rheumatoid arthritis and has been in a wheelchair most of her life. She flies all over the country with her job, but now Air New Zealand has changed their wheelchair policy for people who can't self-lift out of their own wheelchairs and into their plane seat.
Air New Zealand's staff used to be allowed to assist people on and off the plane seats, but now wheelchair users have to have a support person with them to lift them out of their wheelchair, into an aisle chair (which fits down plane aisles), and onto their plane seat. Someone has to meet them at their destination to lift them out of their plane seat, into the aisle chair and then out of the aisle chair into their wheelchair. If you're travelling from Dunedin to Auckland, for example, you usually have to change planes - which means arranging support people in three different places to do the lifting Air New Zealand staff used to do.
Donna's colleague Richard Thomson is chairman of the Otago District Health Board. Air New Zealand told him they made the change because of health and safety legislation. Richard says if he were to tell patients in his hospital they needed to bring a support person with them to do the lifting, he'd be quickly fired. He says the hospital operates under the same health and safety legislation as Air New Zealand, and he believes it means they have to ensure they effectively train their staff to do the job that they're required to do.
He points out that if this is the way Air New Zealand views the policy, maybe passengers should have to put their bags on the plane because the baggage handlers could be injured.
Disability Minister Ruth Dyson has also got into the debate. She says Air New Zealand's putting barriers in the way of disabled people at the very time when barriers are being broken down.
The ultimate irony - Air New Zealand's one of the major sponsors of the New Zealand Paralympics Team.
Air New Zealand wouldn't appear on camera, but they tell us they consulted with disability groups over this policy change. Fair Go has spoken to a number of the groups Air New Zealand "consulted" with, and they say it wasn't a consultation process - there was one meeting and then they were pretty much told that was the way it was going to be.
Air New Zealand wouldn't tell us how many of their staff have been injured lifting wheelchair users in and out of their seats, but they say their overall workplace injury rates are higher than "acceptable industry standards". They say they don't train their staff to provide "specialist lifting assistance".
The same health and safety policy applies to baggage handlers. Air New Zealand says bags over 25kg are tagged as heavy, and any over 32 kgs have to be repacked to make them lighter. Their staff aren't allowed to lift anything they believe may cause them an injury.
Qantas policy is quite different to Air New Zealand's. Their ground based staff help wheelchair users onto the plane, and the cabin crew then help them into their seats. Their staff are specially trained to lift wheelchair users. Interesting that Qantas say none of their staff have been injured lifting wheelchair users in and out of their seats.
If you want to write to Air New Zealand with your views on their wheelchair policy, send your letter to:
Air New Zealand Limited
Private Bag 92007
The team's tips for this week
If you smell gas, or suspect a leak - do turn of all gas appliances - and the gas supply but don't switch off any electrical appliances - a flick of a switch can cause a spark which will ignite the gas if it's leaking.
Buying something on hire purchase?. Make sure it's insured. If the goods are stolen, you'll still have to pay off what you owe on the hire purchase agreement... and you'll have nothing to show for it.
We've had a lot of building inquiries this year, so how about this: keep a video diary or take photos of your house being built.
We don't mean taking pictures every day, but every now and then. Could be useful.
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