Law change to protect car owner privacy

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In May 2011 the Land Transport Act 1998 was amended to better protect vehicle owners’ privacy. 

The change was in response to concerns about names and addresses on the Motor Vehicle Register being used for marketing campaigns, and being available to anyone who requested them.

The new law allows access to personal information for only a few specific purposes – enforcement of the law, maintenance of the security of New Zealand, collection of charges imposed or authorised by an enactment, and administration or development of transport law and policy.  

Anyone who wishes to obtain names and addresses held on the Register outside of these purposes will have to make an Official Information Act request to the NZ Transport Agency.

Vehicle details are still freely available, and anyone wanting to verify if a person selling a car is the registered owner can still complete a ‘registered person check’ on the NZ Transport Agency website using the vehicle registration and seller’s name or drivers licence number.  Buyers are also still able to check whether finance is owing on the car, or if it is stolen.