200,000th vehicle leaves Todd Motors

Agriculture was the backbone of the New Zealand economy but manufacturing was an important source of employment. Tariffs on imported goods were intended to protect local industry.

As early as 1907 the government had imposed taxes on cars that arrived in New Zealand already assembled in a bid to protect local coachbuilders and car assemblers. These tariffs remained in place at varying levels for much of the 20th century.

A number of car assembly plants were built, including the Todd Motors plant in Petone in 1936. In this photo lifelong employee Norman Thompson drives the 200,000th vehicle off the Petone assembly line in October 1973. By the late 1980s tariffs on imported vehicles had been reduced to a level which enabled them to compete with domestically assembled cars. A growing flood of second-hand Japanese imports led to the demise of local assembly by the end of the 1990s.

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