Applauding our transtasman neighbours

By Catherine Pattison on Sat, 5 May 2018

A healthy rivalry exists between us and our transtasman neighbours. However, there are times when we must applaud our ‘‘frenemies''.

This was the case last week when I read that their Federal Government marked National Road Safety Week by announcing the continuation of funding for the critical work of independent vehicle safety consumer organisation, the Australasian New Car Assessment Program (ANCAP), for another five years. Since 1992, ANCAP has published crash test results for a range of new passenger and light commercial vehicles sold in Australia and New Zealand.

ANCAP safety ratings take into account the level of occupant and pedestrian protection provided by new cars by conducting physical crash tests and assessing collision avoidance technologies.

The $6.64 million commitment to ANCAP will have the flow-on effect of helping the organisation to continue the role it plays in New Zealand. Aside from the Australian Government, which joined in 2010, ANCAP comprises 23 member organisations, including the New Zealand Government, the New Zealand Automobile Association (AA) and New Zealand motoring clubs. For many car buyers, safety is a priority and a helpful resource can be found through the NZTA website's link, rightcar.govt.nz.

You can search 515 vehicles produced by 43 car manufacturers to see how many ANCAP stars they receive. The more stars, the better the vehicle performed in ANCAP tests.

To be awarded the maximum five- star ANCAP safety rating, a vehicle must achieve the highest standards in all tests and feature advanced safety assist technologies.

Moving to more adrenaline-associated motoring activities, this weekend will see Dunedin's two New Zealand Rally Championship drivers - Rhys Gardner and Emma Gilmour - taking on 290km of gravel roads around the Northland region.

The International Rally of Whangarei is their only chance this season to measure themselves against foreign competition, as this second round of the NZRC doubles as the season-opener for the Asia Pacific Rally Championship.

You may have read in the Otago Daily Times' yesterday that Gardner is debuting an innovative rally simulator, created by his Gardner Rallysport company at Whangarei's service park.

Participants will be able to take a virtual drive through Kuri Bush, one of the Otago Rally's most well-regarded stages.

Gardner has promised to hold open days in Dunedin and throughout Central Otago over the coming months, so keep an eye on his Facebook page if you want to experience this challenging stage, all with the safety of a reset button, if things go horribly wrong.

Catherine Pattison

Reporter

Drivesouth