Breaking: Common sense prevails, law is to be amended

Victory for common sense!

Victory for common sense!

We have just received an email from the press secretary to Steven Joyce, Minister of Transport, in response to an email we sent to Andrew Knackstedt of the NZ Transport Agency this morning. In it, we have received confirmation that the Road User Amendment Rules 2009 is to be amended to allow the continued use of GPS Navigation apps in mobiles phones.

In our email to Mr Knackstedt this morning we posed the following questions:

1) Why does the ministry consider that using good quality turn-by-turn GPS navigation aids on a mobile device such as an iPhone represents more of a hazard than a dedicated GPS unit such as a TomTom, Navman etc. despite their implementation and use being almost exactly identical?

2) Is there evidence to support this belief by way of investigations / studies / reports? What research has the government done prior to the introduction of this particular facet of the legislation?

3) Why has the government continued to allow the sale of devices with this functionality built-in, and the sale of add-on applications specifically for this purpose despite intending to ban their  use?

4) Does the government plan to ban the sale / purchase of such software going forward and if not why not? Surely consumers and businesses need to be protected?

5) It would appear to me that this software becomes illegal as a result of sloppy wording in the legislation rather than a direct and intentional ban of this technology. If this is the case, can the wording of the law be reviewed to exempt the use of navigation aids?

The email was passed on to the Ministry of Transport’s press secretary who has replied with the following:

Your enquiry has been onpassed to me.

The Road User amendment rule that contains restrictions on cell phone use is designed to discourage motorists from talking on their hand held cell phones or texting while driving.  Voice calling is permitted, provided the phone is in a mounted hands-free device,

It is not the intent of the rule to make it illegal for motorists to use the satellite navigation or music functions of their cell phones, provided these are mounted in the vehicle and are manipulated infrequently.

It is also not intended to discriminate against one kind of satellite navigation device or another.  However, with all of these devices it is important to set them up while the vehicle is stationary as they are all potential distractions in a moving vehicle.

The Minister this afternoon met with officials and instructed them to amend the rule accordingly.

I hope that helps.

Kind regards,


Anita Ferguson
Press Secretary

Office of Hon Steven Joyce
Minister of Transport
Minister for Communications and Information Technology
Associate Minister of Finance
Associate Minister for Infrastructure

This is fantastic news – it’s great that the minister acted so quickly and that common sense has prevailed. We’d like to thank everyone that took the time to sign our petition this morning.

And now that the coast is clear… get entering our competition to win a free copy of Sygic Mobile Maps 2009!

Share and Enjoy:
  • Google Bookmarks
  • Digg
  • Facebook
  • Twitter
This entry was posted in All, Other News and tagged , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.


  1. mpvincent says:

    Congrats! Great news.

    (mpvincent has made 2 comments)

  2. MX28080 says:

    My bad on the petition post, wow, I guess NZ govt is making a really huge mistake if they go ahead with that law, I mean even with TomTom car kit, it must be illegal to use it (Or say Apps on iTunes store, Ovi Maps are all illegal LOL).

    And I’ve seen Aussie law where it actually requires you to have a phone holder, otherwise it is illegal to use it and I have to agree with that because without a proper holder you cannot navigate well with the phone.

    (MX28080 has made 29 comments)

  3. jasetaylor says:

    Have a cigar

    (jasetaylor has made 10 comments)

  4. Abominus says:

    @jasetaylor – Smoking is bad for you. Take a sausage from the cup of sausages on the desk and ponder wisely.

    (Abominus has made 6 comments)

  5. billy bob says:

    Wait, wait wait. Am I missing something here? I was told in the past that GPS equipment is already illegal under the Vehicle Equipment Rule section 2.5 –
    I don’t see any changes to that, so why is that not considered now?

    (billy bob has made 2 comments)

  6. chomancho1 says:

    yahoo hooray we can use the gps's

    (chomancho1 has made 6 comments)

  7. d3Xt3r says:

    @Abominus – Eating meat is bad for you.Take a carrot from the cup of carrots on the desk and ponder wisely.

    (d3Xt3r has made 1 comment)

  8. Abominus says:

    @d3Xt3r – You're right, you're right. I've often said to people that that lion would be so much bigger and stronger if it chased a brussel sprout rolling down a hill, and ate it instead of meat.

    (Abominus has made 6 comments)

  9. billy bob says:

    @Richard – Ya that’s what I thought at first, but then why would they have part 2.5(2)c that says about the television being designed only for navigations systems and the like. It looks like they didn’t put a definition of television in the definition section so it’s hard to tell. DO they mean something that can displayt a tv broadcast signal? I don’t think they’d be happy with someone watching a dvd on a built-in lcd screen just because it’s not a “television”.

    (billy bob has made 2 comments)

  10. Richard says:

    Bob – read 2.5, says "television screen" not "video screen" or "lcd screen". GPS units do not have television screens, so they are fine.

    (Richard has made 50 comments)

Leave a Reply