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Background

In October 2018, the Transport Agency announced an extensive review of its regulatory compliance function, sending a strong message that it is getting tough on enforcement.

The Board appointed the law firm Meredith Connell to review more than 850 open compliance files and to lead the initial work to improve our regulatory functions. It also engaged Kristy McDonald QC to independently establish the facts about Dargaville Diesel Specialists, identify any failings in the Transport Agency’s performance as a regulator, and make recommendations on actions that should be taken. The report was publicly released in February 2019, and the Board accepted all the recommendations.

Board recommendations media release (12 February 2019)

Actions

As part of our response to the review findings, we significantly improved our compliance processes and cleared the backlog of open compliance files. We’ve changed our way of thinking.  We’ve moved from an education approach to a tougher enforcement approach where safety come first.  This means moving swiftly to make enforcement decisions. Our goal is to be a best-practice regulator.

Between October 2018 and May 2019, we took more than 400 enforcement actions against service providers, drivers and transport service operators who failed to meet the required standards. This included suspending both WoF vehicle inspectors and inspecting organisations, and providing free WoF reinspection vouchers to over 40,000 vehicle owners.

Here are some of the other things we achieved:

  • We formed a new Regulatory Group which brings together all the teams responsible for the Transport Agency’s compliance activity. It includes monitoring of entry to the land transport system (as a driver, operator, certifier or inspector), ongoing monitoring of a regulated party within the system and, if required, their exit from the system. The group came into effect on 7 January 2019.
  • A General Manager of Regulatory was appointed to lead the organisation’s regulatory function. Kane Patena started in his role on 8 April 2019.
    New GM Kane Patena media release (18 April 2019)
  • We adopted new decision-making processes and a better file management tool to keep track of non-compliance cases.
  • We combined licensing and the compliance functions and set up consistent processes between them.
  • We took an open and transparent approach to decisions about non-compliance, publishing enforcement actions on our website, and rapidly issuing letters to any affected parties.
  • A phone line was set up for the public to report any concerns about non-compliance – such as issues with WoFs, or drivers not following the rules. The phone line – 0800 468 244 – is free, anonymous and available 24/7.
  • We are rebuilding stakeholder relationships so that we can work together to enable safety and compliance. This includes exploring how industry organisations may be able to play a greater part in supporting compliance across their sectors.

Patrick Chu

The Transport Agency began investigating Auckland-based heavy vehicle specialist certifier (HVSC) Patrick Chu in 2018, following safety concerns over the certifications issued for several heavy vehicle components.

Heavy vehicle certification information for Patrick Chu’s customers

Warrant of Fitness rechecks

The NZ Transport Agency is no longer issuing WoF recheck vouchers for customers of suspended vehicle inspectors and inspecting organisations.

From October 2018–August 2019, the Transport Agency chose to contribute to the cost of rectification, even though we weren’t legally liable – such as paying for WoF rechecks. However, now that the backlog has been cleared and we’re moving towards a best-practice model, suspended service providers will be liable to their own customers for non-compliance.

While the Agency will no longer be paying for rechecks, vouchers that have been issued previously will still be valid until the expiry date stated on the customer’s letter.

Related documents

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