President's Report - May 2001
For our May monthly meeting we are gathering in the showroom of Melrose Peugeot in Phillip, from 6.30 to 8 pm on Wednesday the 23rd. Note the change of day (normally the fourth Tuesday of each month), so that we don't clash with Federal budget night (Tuesday 22nd). Light refreshments will be provided while we inspect the latest models, and hear the latest gossip from the Peugeot sales team at Melrose. Although supplies of some current model Pugs are very limited in Australia, Melrose has been able to assemble an excellent selection for us. It has been several years since the club visited the local dealership, and all members (with or without cash/cheque/credit card) are invited to avail themselves of this opportunity.
As luck would have it, while visiting New Zealand earlier this month, I happened to be in town for the May meeting of the Wellington Peugeot Car Club. I joined the club when I moved there in 1983, and have maintained my membership since returning to Canberra in 1994. Quite coincidentally, they were holding their meeting in the showroom of the local dealer, so I have some interesting comparisons to make. For example, new pug prices are almost identical in dollar terms. However, when the exchange rate is taken into account (one NZ dollar equals about 80 cents Australian), cars are 20% cheaper across the Tasman. Makes you wonder about trying to do a private import, but unless you are prepared to live in Kiwiland and own the car for 12 months or more, it's not worthwhile because of import duties on entry to Australia. I brought two cars back with me from NZ in 1994 (203 wagon and 404 sedan), but I'd owned them for a few years, and being pre-1975 cars, they did not have to meet the ADR regulations applied to newer models.
As I recall it cost me a few hundred dollars in import duty and sales tax, based on the value of the cars - a far cry from what I would have had to pay for a newer (more valuable) car. Furthermore, the 404 was NZ assembled, and trans-Tasman trading rules (called Closer Economic Relations or CER, at the time) meant that it was exempt from import duty. Final comment came from a wharfie in Sydney, when I came to collect the cars after clearing customs and quarantine: "We liked the old thing" [meaning the 203]. "Dunno why you brought the other one, though" [meaning the 404]. By the way, congratulations to Peter Rees on the publication of his biography on Tim Fischer, The Boy from Boree Creek. It's a good read and thoroughly recommended.
Keep on Pugging,