Weird world: Cheeky New Zealand drag racers dodge fees by disguising their speed machines… as tractors!

By John McDougall

Cheeky boy racers in New Zealand are being targeted by police after hundreds of car owners registered their vehicles as tractors to save money.

At the Drag Wars drag racing event near Hamilton on the country’s North Island, police were in action to confront drivers dodging the $220 registration fee.

Though steps are being taken to address the issue, Sergeant Mark Fleming fears it could be a problem far greater than they first anticipated.

“It’s a fraud really,” the Counties Manukau Police Road Crime Unit Officer told New Zealand broadcaster 3 News.

“It’s a fraud against all other New Zealanders, but it’s one which is quite difficult to detect.”

By pretending to own tractors, some young Kiwi motorists cheat the system and cost the Australasian nation’s economy thousands of dollars annually.

The problem is widespread in New Zealand as the windscreen registration labels for tractors are almost identical to that of cars.

The cost of registering a tractor or a campervan in the commonwealth nation is significantly less than it would be to register a car.

When one young driver was questioned at the event in Meremere and given a written warning, he struggled to see the serious side of the offence.

“I plough my fields with it on the farm – hook the rotary on the back,” he said.

The event’s organiser also said news of the practice was new to him.

“I might have a look to see if there are any Nuffields or John Deeres racing,” he said.

New Zealanders who incorrectly register their vehicle normally face a $200 immediate fine, with repeat offenders facing fraud charges potentially.

Kiwi police say they are now considering introducing a colour-coding registration system to make it easier to tell if a vehicle is registered as a car or a tractor. 

Picture courtesy of OZinOH, with thanks.

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