Blog Archives

VIA announces update on stink bugs

As previously reported, a cross-industry working group was established last week in response to the stink bug threat.

The Ministry of Primary Industries (MPI) has today advised the group on proposed immediate treatment measures for ships already affected. 

This week, shipping lines and importers will be trialling a proposed treatment programme, and systematic testing, to see if these are effective at killing the bugs on the vessels that were denied entry. 

MPI discourages vessels en route to Auckland or waiting to be loaded in Japanese ports in arriving without having taken appropriate measures to remove the risk. 

MPI has also applied for permission to use restricted pest control substances, if this becomes necessary. VIA and the MIA, working jointly on behalf of industry, have approached the relevant Government ministers in support of this application.

VIA are aware that this issue is having a severe impact on our supply chain, and that businesses and jobs are at risk, but they are determined on reaching a solution will keep the industry and those involved informed of all developments.

If you find any evidence of insect infestation, phone the 24/7 MPI Exotic Pest and Disease Hotline on 0800 80 99 66 and report it immediately

More info is available on the MPI website.

For any questions, please contact VIA Technical Manager Malcolm Yorston on 0800 VIA VIA (842 842) or email

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CoolDrive opens third NZ branch

Source: CoolDrive

CoolDrive has moved into the South Island with the opening of its third branch in Wigram, Christchurch.

CoolDrive is one of Australasia’s largest automotive parts distributors with a comprehensive range of automotive air conditioning, rotating electrical, electrical accessories, engine cooling, engine management, underbody, braking and suspension products.

Heading the team at Christchurch is Peter Connelly, National Sales Manager of CoolDrive in New Zealand, who has almost four decades of auto electrical experience and is well equipped to establish and grow the branch.

“The opening of our first branch on the South Island is in response to the growing number of customers in the region who were ordering from our Auckland and Albany branches,” Peter Connelly said.

“By providing a branch more closely situated to them, we are clearly demonstrating our commitment to our customers and hopefully aiding them in reducing downtime and increasing productivity and giving them access to the full CoolDrive range.”

Supporting Peter will be a four-man team including branch supervisor Jesse Ahrens who has relocated to Christchurch from CoolDrive Toowoomba and brings vast CoolDrive product and systems knowledge, as well as Mark Northmore and Craig McAlister, both well-known and respected in the local auto electrical and battery industries.

“Together we have over 105 years motor trade experience and with this vastly knowledgeable team and ideal premises, I am confident that CoolDrive Christchurch will fully support customers in the region and add strength to the CoolDrive network of branches,” Peter continued.

It features a brand-new showroom and offices, supporting a 1,000 square metre warehouse where the full range of CoolDrive’s automotive parts, equipment and performance products will be stocked.

CoolDrive Christchurch is located at 24 Avenger Crescent, Wigram, Christchurch, New Zealand. Phone: +64 (0) 800 327 868.

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Toyota’s new execs see industry crisis

President Akio Toyoda

Toyota’s newly promoted global executives, all from different backgrounds and companies, share President Akio Toyoda’s view that an industry crisis is looming.

Back in November, Toyota announced its plans to change its executive line-up and revise its organisational structure to boost business innovation in  January 2018.

A once-in-a-century change is occurring,” said Satoshi Ogiso, a former hybrid-vehicle engineer who left Toyota to run brake supplier Advics Co., and has returned as president of Toyota’s commercial vehicle business. “We have to overcome a time of major change.”

Even Toyota’s newly appointed chief communications officer, Masahiro Yamaoka, couldn’t help fretting aloud about Toyota’s challenges.

“In all aspects, we really can’t wait,” he said. “This is a survival or death situation.”

The crisis mentality is being cultured from the top by President Akio Toyoda, who is looking far beyond the next few quarters. Toyota is expecting a record net income for the current fiscal year.

Toyoda says his top priority is keeping the company nimble and responsive to the major change rising over the industry, including the spectre of self-driving cars.

Akihiro Fukutome, the new head of Toyota Financial Services Co. said his mission came from Toyoda – “He told me to blow a new wind from outside and quicken the pace of change.”

On the finance front, Fukutome said new mobility businesses, such as ride-sharing, are forcing Toyota to devise new revenue streams, combining finance and technology. Referring to the buzzword for innovative financial technologies, he added, “ ’Fintech’ is the word that is often used. I would like to do something new.”

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Mercedes involved in emission scandal

US investigators have found potentially illegal software modifications in Mercedes-Benz diesel cars to help the vehicles pass emissions tests, German newspaper, Bild am Sonntag, said yesterday.

Investigators found that engine management functions called “Slipguard” and “Bit 15” enabled the card to emit NOx pollutants up to ten times higher than legally permitted levels.

Bild am Sonntag cited emails from the automaker’s engineers questioning whether the software functions were legal.

A spokesman for Mercedes owner Daimler declined to comment on the content of the documents, saying the automaker was fully cooperating with the U.S. authorities and had agreed upon strict confidentiality with the Department of Justice.

“The authorities know the documents and no complaint has been filed,” the spokesman said. “The documents available to Bild have obviously selectively been released in order to harm Daimler and its 290,000 employees.”

There has been growing scrutiny of diesel vehicles since Volkswagen admitted in 2015 to installing defective software that allowed them to emit up to 40 times legally allowable emissions while meeting standards when tested by regulators.

The cars had software that switched off performance-reducing emissions control systems during laboratory testing.

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Positive news for drifting car carriers

Mitsuki Osk Lines (MOL) has revealed a tentative plan for the return of the Courageous Ace and the Glovis Caravel to New Zealand.
Courageous Ace
  • Currently drifting off Brisbane.
  • The car carrier will be fogged at sea by a fumigation company in Brisbane.
  • The time frame of the procedure is to be determined due swells from Cyclone Gita.
  • On completion of the fogging, the Courageous Ace will sail for Auckland. 
  • On arrival in Auckland the vessel will be accessed for Brown Marmorated Stink Bugs 
    (BMSB) and Yellow Spotted Stink Bugs (YSSB) by the Ministry of Primary Industries (MPI).

Current location of the Courageous Ace – MarineTraffic

Glovis Caravel
  • The vessel is currently drifting North, off the Noumea coast.
  • Vessel will be fogged by a fumigation company either off the Brisbane coast or the Auckland coast.
  • On completion of fogging the Glovis Caravel V.16A will sail for or berth in Auckland
  • On arrival Auckland vessel will be accessed for BMSB/YSSB by MPI. 

Current location of the Glovis Caravel – MarineTraffic

MOL have also released a tentative vessel schedule for both car carriers, subject to weather conditions and MPI approval:


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Working group to address safety of imports

An emergency working group has been set up, to find a way to eliminate the bugs from the ships currently affected, and enable the safe discharge of their cargo.

VIA staff are working proactively with the Ministry of Primary Industries (MPI), attending their meeting with industry yesterday to gain updated information and provide input on potential solutions.

No particular type of cargo (new or used cars, industrial or agricultural machinery) has yet been identified exclusively as carrying the bugs.

VIA will also continue to work on medium and longer-term prevention measures, and keep all our members informed of developments.

If you find any evidence of insect infestation, phone the 24/7 MPI Exotic Pest and Disease Hotline on 0800 80 99 66 and report it immediately
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PM launches Christchurch car sharing service

 Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern and Mayor Lianne Dalziel have officially launched Christchurch’s first fully battery powered electric car sharing service.

Christchurch City Council

The Council, the Ara Institute, Aurecon, Beca, the Canterbury District Health Board, Chapman Tripp, Christchurch International Airport, Environment Canterbury, Jacobs, Meridian Energy, Tonkin and Taylor, and Warren and Mahoney are the foundation members of the scheme, which is being run for them by Yoogo Share.

From today other Christchurch businesses and the public can access the battery electric vehicles in the service’s fleet.

Yoogo Share will see a pure EV fleet of 100 cars, ten hubs and 100 chargers made available around Christchurch. Twelve key businesses with 3,000 drivers are already working with the Yoogo Share cars, removing 115 combustion engine vehicles from their fleets. 

Mayor Lianne Dalziel says she is proud that Christchurch is the first city in New Zealand, and one of the few cities internationally, that has a battery electric car sharing service.

“Our purpose here today may not have been in any blueprint, but it is as much a part of our regeneration as is any project that was envisaged. It is about who we are as a city – New Zealand’s 21st century Garden City putting sustainability to the fore.

“This service will deliver improved environmental and health outcomes and help the Council achieve its goal of becoming carbon neutral by 2030,” the Mayor says.

“It’s a smart and sustainable way for businesses and for local residents to get around town and I’m excited to see the service grow. This is way of the future.’’

 Prime Minister Ardern says encouraging the use of electric vehicles is an important part of the Government’s plan for New Zealand to become carbon neutral by 2050.

“It’s great we could help Christchurch lead the way with this innovative car sharing scheme,’’ she says.

Christchurch City Council

Yoogo Share General Manager Kirsten Corson says the company is looking forward to opening up the car share service to the public.

The first stage of the car sharing service has started with Hyundai Ioniq and BMWi3 vehicles now available at hubs in the Christchurch Art Gallery Te Puna o Waiwhetu car park, the West End car park, and at Christchurch International Airport.

In April, further hubs will be added at The Crossing car park, the Ara Institute, Canterbury University, Papanui and Fendalton libraries, and the Lyttelton Community Centre.

“This is an exciting new transport service powered by electricity that is largely generated from renewable energy,’’ says Kevin Crutchley, the Council’s Resource Efficiency Manager and project manager for the scheme.

“The result is a service with zero tail pipe emissions that will both reduce our city’s greenhouse gas emissions and improve air quality, which will have positive health benefits for the residents of Christchurch,’’ he says.

The Christchurch Agency for Energy Trust was a foundation funding supporter for the service, providing a grant towards the electrical and charging infrastructure for the hub roll-out.

The Energy Efficiency and Conservation Authority has provided funding towards stage two of the service through its Low Emission Vehicles contestable fund.

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NZ Customs releases notice

New Zealand Customs have released an important notice outlining the actions the four vessels must undertake in order for Customs clearance. 

In recent days four ships have been affected by infestations of Brown Marmorated Stink Bugs. Three have been ordered to leave by MPI and one has voluntarily changed its route to New Zealand.

Some of these ships have been deemed to have ‘arrived’ in New Zealand and import declarations have been entered and passed with either Deferred Accounts or Cash Accounts being debited or raised. 

Customs advises that for vessels that have ‘arrived’ in New Zealand actions should be undertaken for Custom to clear their cargo:

  • Export entries should be lodged for the goods with corresponding Import Lodgement number /Importing Vessel identified in the Description. (NB: Drawback entries would be considered but would not relate to any GST portion as this would need to be pursued through IRD)
  • Should the goods subsequently be re-imported back into New Zealand another import declaration would need to be lodged claiming ‘Returned NZ Goods’ status with no duties (incl GST) being payable. This is provided that no Drawback or GST for export has been claimed.
  • In the instances where Customs has already approved requests for the cancellation of entries no further action will be necessary however any future requests for cancellation of entries for goods on these craft will not be approved.

One of the vessels, Glovis Caravel, has changed its route prior to arrival in New Zealand so the goods are not considered to have been imported. In this situation there is an additional option to apply for the cancellation of the entry and any subsequent deferred payment debit will be erased or refunded (if paid).

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Import health standards changes imminent

David Vinsen

Autofile understands there will be an announcement this afternoon by the Ministry for Primary Industries (MPI) that changes will be made to import health standards, and that all used passenger vehicles exported from Japan to New Zealand will be required to be cleaned and inspected before leaving Japan.

Changes to import health standards have been mooted for some time, but it is believed the current infestations of BMSB and YSSB have initiated immediate action.

VIA (the Imported Motor Vehicle Industry Association) has confirmed its support in ensuring that New Zealand’s biosecurity is the bottom line.

Chief executive, David Vinsen, who contacted Autofile earlier this morning, says: “The absolute bottom line for us is to ensure biosecurity is maintained and that the future of New Zealand’s primary production is not at risk through the importation of vehicles.

“We are working closely with the MPI to find a suitable solution and a meeting will be held this morning to further examine possible solutions. These may include freezing. The bugs are extreme-temperature intolerant, so either heating or freezing are options we are looking into. There will be a trial conducted to assess this imminently with the hope that treatment will follow immediately afterwards.

“We are committed to finding a solution and, to this end, VIA will be taking the lead on behalf of our industry.”

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MPI congratulated

Kiwifruit Vine Health (KVH) Chief Executive, Barry O’Neil, says the Ministry of Primary Industries (MPI) should be congratulated for taking the right action in turning back car carriers carrying hundreds of stink bugs that pose a huge biosecurity threat. 

“Over the last few days MPI has turned around two large cargo vessels because one of the most damaging pests to the kiwifruit and wider horticultural industries — the brown marmorated stink bug was found hitchhiking on both ships” said O’Neil.

There are now four car carriers that have been asked to leave New Zealand waters due to the biosecurity risk. 

The Brown Marmorated Stink Bug (BMSB) is a pest that could destroy New Zealand’s fruit and vegetable industries. It also infests homes, ruins gardens, and stinks when crushed says O’Neil.

“That is why KVH is pleased with the ongoing diligence of MPI to detect these stink bugs at the border and we fully support the serious steps they have been taking to manage the risk of it getting here, including these recent cases of requiring treatment to take place offshore before allowing high-risk ships and cargo to enter and unload goods at our Ports.

“The decisions may not always be popular with those importing goods, but the rules are very clear, and they are stringent for a reason. Unwanted pests like the BMSB could cause hundreds of millions of dollars damage to the New Zealand economy and heavily affect growers’ livelihoods if it were to establish here.”

Working alongside MPI, industry groups including KVH have been working hard to raise awareness of the threat and impact of BMSB crossing our borders.

This work has included meetings with importers and transporters of machinery and other high-risk goods to ensure they are fully aware of the biosecurity measures they must take.

KVH has also been working with kiwifruit growers, Zespri, MPI and the wider kiwifruit industry to ensure preparedness for BMSB, if it were to arrive and establish here. This includes running awareness programmes and simulation exercises. 


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President of GM visits Auckland

Barry Engle, President of GM international.

The President of General Motors International, Barry Engle paid a flying visit to Auckland to officially unveil the all-new Commodore range.

Engle took the covers off  the three body styles on offer – Liftback, Sportwagon and Tourer – all of which will be available for sale at Holden dealerships around the country from March.

“This new generation of Commodore will redefine one of GM’s most famous nameplates. Commodore is now a true global car for GM, and offers levels of technology, engine options and bodystyles that will challenge perceptions of the car,” Mr Engle said.

For the first time, a diesel option with will be available on Commodore, cutting fuel consumption by a third compared to the equivalent previous model.

All wheel drive (AWD) capability on some models is also a first for Commodore. The hero of the range is the new Calais-V Tourer with a raised ride height and AWD, engineered to take on New Zealand’s most challenging road conditions.

Speaking at the event, Holden New Zealand’s managing director, Kristian Aquilina said this is the most important change in Commodore’s 40-year history.

“The brief to GM’s designers and engineers was simple: create a beautiful car that give us a major step change in fuel economy, safety, functionality and technology. They gave us the most advanced Commodore ever,” Mr Aquilina said.

In addition to unveiling the Commodore range, Mr Engle’s took the opportunity to review GM’s investment in the Holden business in New Zealand. Holden and its dealer network is investing $50 million dollars locally in new and upgraded facilities, technology, training and new products and services.

The Holden team in New Zealand spans three head office sites, 51 dealer sites and 1,400 employees directly involved in selling and serving customers across New Zealand.

Engle also managed to squeeze in a visit to Taranaki couple Steve and Joy Fabish, who received a surprise valentine, in the form of one of the latest Commodore, from Engle on Tuesday.   

“When I heard about how much you love Holden, I wanted you to know that Holden loves you too. Holden and Kiwis ‘go way back’ (as you like to say) and I think we’ve got an exciting future together,” said Engle in a letter addressed to the couple.

The Taranaki couple established a Holden Museum dedicated to celebrating the history of the vehicles in New Zealand on their property last year. 

Greg Murphy with Joy and Steve Fabish

For more news from Barry Engle’s visit to New Zealand, be sure to read the March issue of Autofile magazine.

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