The Motor Trade Association (MTA) is concerned the Government's approach to immigration will impact on road safety.
“A long-running skill shortage in the automotive sector threatens vehicle inspection and the industry's capacity to train for the future," says MTA’s Advocacy and Strategy Manager Greig Epps.
"The current policy equates skill level with salary level and this is wrong,” Epps says.
"Doctors and mechanics get paid vastly different amounts, but there's not many doctors who can fix your transmission as well as your fracture."
The MTA has been highlighting the increasing rates of Warrant of Fitness failures and high percentage of fatal crashes with a contributing vehicle factor for some time.
“WoF failures have increased from 36% to 41% in the past five years, and approximately 50 fatal crashes a year involve a vehicle factor,” Epps says.
“Workplace training requires qualified staff to supervise the apprentice during their four years of study.
“With the current shortages, business owners simply do not have time to meet customer demands while also overseeing a learner in a skilled, highly technical workspace.”
Older automotive technicians are retiring or moving to vehicle inspection roles. But with a growing vehicle fleet, vehicle inspection organisations are struggling to find staff.
Epps notes Waka Kotahi NZTA has also expressed concern about this shortage.
“Vehicle inspection and repair were recognised as essential services during the Covid-19 lockdown last year,” he says.
"We need to recognise the different skills mix in each industry and develop pathways according to industry needs, rather than setting arbitrary salary levels as a proxy for skill."
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