Just wanted to pass along some advice about rental cars in NZ. We had a terrible experience with Apex Car Rentals (the only low point in an otherwise outstanding 3-week trip), and would strongly advise against renting from them.
We booked several rentals (from Auckland City, Nelson, and Queenstown) through Apex before we left -- the company seemed good, and the prices were less than at Hertz, Avis, etc. When we got to Auckland, though, we found out that their "economy" cars are cheaper because they are about 10 years old and are, in many cases, slightly beat up. We were assigned an old brown Nissan with a faded interior and patches of missing paint on the right side. That's when things got freaky:
1. An employee started to back our car out of the Apex garage. When he put it in gear, it lurched forward and hit another car, and then went into reverse at a high rate of speed, colliding with yet another car and ripping off the door.
2. He got out of the car and (no kidding) ran away. Other employees came out to gawk, but no one offered to help us retrieve our bags (which were in the trunk), or to get us another car. We were left standing in the middle of the garage, staring in disbelief.
3. After about 20 minutes of having no one help us, we wandered into the back office and asked the manager of the Auckland City Branch what was going on. He seemed exceedingly annoyed that we had bothered him. After another 10 minutes of waiting, he announced that he had another old Nissan we could rent.
4. We explained that, after having witnessed what appeared to be a serious transmission failure in one of their old cars, we were not about to get in another one. In light of what had happened, and the fact that no one had helped us or yet retrieved our bags (which were still in the trunk of the destroyed car), we at least expected he would offer us a complimentary upgrade to a newer and safer model (the next level up was a late model Ford Focus or Toyota Corolla).
5. His response (and I am not making this up) was, "Absolutely not. What, do you think you've won the lottery or something?"
Needless to say, we cancelled all our reservations with Apex on the spot and took a cab to Hertz. We rented with Hertz and Avis for the rest of our trip (including two complimentary upgrades from Avis for no reason whatsoever), and the rest of our trip was wonderful.