Close this search box.

Electric Future: SIVANZ going to bat for combustion-engines

16 September 2018



Simply because it was too important not to be spread throughout the internet, here’s the letter to the editor from NZV8 issue No. 161 detailing how Special Interest Vehicle Association of New Zealand (SIVANZ) are saving our asses

Hi Connal,

I enjoyed your Pull Your Weight commentary in the June issue.

I think that the special interest vehicle (SIV) fraternity has matured quite well. There will always be clubs and groups that only focus on one brand or model or whatever, but generally I don’t think it matters what a special interest vehicle is actually powered by these days; there are lots of fuel delivery variations, engine sizes and types slotted into vehicles that are a real credit to the men and women who conceive the idea and then make it happen. And, as you say, we have Evie [the Mercury electric Fairlane] now.

Interestingly though, I think it is your very last sentence in the article that is the acid question: “Just take a look in the mirror first and make sure that you are doing your part to keep this hobby of ours alive. Otherwise, what’s your point?”

To your challenge, the Productivity Commission has just completed a draft report to government on the low emissions economy. It’s a very long read at 503 pages. This report is likely to have a profound impact on how we get to enjoy our cars. Change is coming.

The Transport section is mainly where change is likely to occur for us. It won’t matter one jot if you belong to the best Ford club in the country or your fuel injected, supercharged rotary engine Mini is just the cutest thing on four wheels. This report is a special interest vehicle disruptor. The points of discussion around EVs, EV technology, and ‘dirty’ businesses is something that should concern each and every one of your readers.

It’s not that we can expect to continue running fossil-fuelled vehicles for ever. We all know that can’t happen. It’s about how our SIV fleet may be compared against the rest of the ageing fossil-fuelled fleet and then compared against the emissions of the EV technology. The report submission(s) weighting and language is not in our favour.

Of the 268 submissions made to the Productivity Commission’s draft report, only two represented the special interest vehicle fraternity: The Federation of Motoring Clubs and the Special Interest Vehicle Association of New Zealand (SIVANZ). No prizes for guessing where I sit. (Note that not all 268 submissions were transport related. There are other sectors of the economy reported on and submissions made about.)

Anyway, the point is that out of all the clubs and all of the national organizations in the country only two groups prepared submissions representing their memberships. So, anyone outside of those two groups should be on the phone to their club presidents or national body to ask them why they did not stand up and go to bat for them. There are significant numbers of SIV owners who don’t belong to any club or organization; it’ll be really interesting for those folk in the next 18 months to two years. This report and subsequent discussions is a big deal for SIV owners.

The other rub here for us is that as the SIV fleet is affected by change, so too will all of the businesses supplying parts and services to the SIV market, including car magazine publishers. SIV owners and SIV suppliers are joined at the hip; we need each other to survive.

To reiterate the challenge to your readers: “Just take a look in the mirror first and make sure that you are doing your part to keep this hobby of ours alive. Otherwise what’s your point?” I’ve already looked into it (this is a mirror joke). Ordinarily, we might say “it’s time to think long and hard about this” — the problem is we actually don’t have a long time available to us. It really is time to get organized.


Andrew (SIVANZ)

Hi Andrew,

Thanks for taking the time to respond. I found your email very interesting, as it concerned something I actually had no idea of, as ironic as that may seem given the editorial in question!

My editorial was targeted towards hot rodding Nimbys, so to speak — people liable to complain about technological advancements while offering no support to the hobby, which seems to be all the more prevalent in our internet-focused society — but of course, in light of your response, that’s been turned back on myself!

It’s a scary proposition, and having had a look at the relevant part of the Low Emissions Economy draft (chapter 11 — Transport), it looks like a standard economic catch-all theory. I can’t blame the Productivity Commission for the oversight of our small special-interest populace, when creating such an intensive report focused on the future rather than the past, but it is obviously very concerning.

There was also no mention of whether existing fossil-fuelled vehicles would be ‘grandfathered’ under this scheme, and little detail about the phasing out (or retirement) of these vehicles from our economy. Do they presume a finite lifespan for all fossil-fuelled vehicles to be superseded by EVs? Questions that it is in our interest to have answered, so thank you for your action in submission on the draft report!

Having read the SIVANZ submission [have a look at], I am definitely glad that someone has raised the points that need to be raised, in defence of our vehicles.

What am I doing to keep this hobby of ours alive? I suppose I don’t exactly know anymore, but putting word out on the draft report might just be a good start!