Just, well … absurd!

17 04 2012

“So howzit going?” Roy asked.

I briefly pondered the polite answer as per my previous post on Local Linguistics then decided to go for the honest answer; “I am seriously pissed off!”

“Why is that?” Roy asked, apparently genuinely concerned.

So I told him.

As a physically disabled person I can import into the country, duty free, an automatic gearbox saloon car, station wagon or light commercial vehicle. The first two are of little use to me because I frequently have to carry things around which either won’t fit in a saloon or station wagon or I simply don’t want to carry in the vehicle with me. Agricultural chemicals are one! So I was more than pleased last September when the Minister of Finance changed the legislation to allow the importation of commercial vehicles under the same exemption – up until that time they’d not been included. At the end of last year I made a few enquiries at a local Toyota dealer and then mid-January set everything moving. I got the invoice, paid for the double-cab pickup which is a light commercial vehicle, ascertained that I needed  a letter from a specialist doctor, copy of proof of residence, proof of funds to pay for it and a copy of my ID document. The system is of course exploited. I personally know of two people who are entirely capable of driving a manual vehicles who have managed to get automatic ones in duty-free.

Today I went for the mandatory interview, presumably to see that in fact I did exist and that I was not a fence for someone else who wanted to exploit the system. I was duly told that the double cab pickup truck that I wanted to import was not eligible, it was too heavy! I was dumbstruck. It turns out that only light commercial vehicles with a nett vehicle mass of less than 1.4 tonnes are eligible. It seems that vehicles fitting the description are made but are true commercial trucks of the type that are used by shopfitters and handymen for moving stuff around town – not really what I had in mind. Everything else is too heavy and only double-cab pickups have the automatic gearbox option. The ludicrous aspect of this I could import the latest Landcruiser which is far more than 1.4 tonnes NVM and far more expensive than the vehicle I wanted. Clearly not a lot of thought went into redrafting the conditions of the import rebate.

“So why don’t you get a Prado (smaller Landcruiser) and hire a driver to drive your pickup – you are the boss, get someone else to do the donkey work!” said Roy.

“But it’s stupidly expensive” I retorted. Cost aside it is an option, however it would mean that I’d be stuck if ever the driver went on leave or was off sick and I’d then have to drive the manual pickup truck which sort of defeats the object of getting an automatic vehicle.

We chatted business for a while and then seeing I still down in the dumps he said “Hey, listen carefully to me. Why cheat yourself when you can treat yourself. Remember, when we put you in your coffin the suit doesn’t have pockets so where will we put the money?”

I had to laugh at that.

“See, I made you laugh” he chuckled as he walked away.