Waka Kotahi NZ Transport Agency has successfully prosecuted a director of an Auckland inspecting organisation who dishonestly accessed the Motor Vehicle Register. This is the first prosecution of its kind since the Waka Kotahi Regulatory Services Safer Vehicles team was established in 2019.
Aucklander Brett Wayne Robinson pleaded guilty to one charge of dishonestly accessing the Motor Vehicle Register. Mr Robinson misrepresented himself as a person qualified to carry out Warrant of Fitness (WoF) inspections and was sentenced to eight months home detention plus payment of various costs.
“Mr Robinson was never appointed by Waka Kotahi as a vehicle inspector and was issuing WoFs using the details of a vehicle inspector who no longer worked at his inspecting organisation,” says Nicole Botherway, Senior Manager Safer Vehicles.
“He issued over 900 WoFs – that’s over 900 vehicle owners and their passengers, and anyone travelling the same roads as these vehicles who had their safety potentially put at risk.”
At the time of the initial investigation, Waka Kotahi revoked the inspecting organisation appointment held by Mr Robinson and his business partner and revoked all of the WoFs issued by Mr Robinson. That meant vehicle owners were required to get a new WoF elsewhere.
Ms Botherway says vehicle owners rely on vehicle inspectors to conduct inspections with integrity and be assured that a passed WoF means their vehicle is safe.
“We have appointed over 8,000 vehicle inspectors at more than 3,500 inspecting organisations and the vast majority of them carry out vehicle inspections correctly. For their sake, and for the public of New Zealand, it’s important we protect the integrity of the system and act when we do find fraudulent behaviour.”
The role of the Waka Kotahi Safer Vehicles team is to review inspection organisations and vehicle inspectors to check compliance. If serious non-compliance is found, the team has a range of tools to ensure the right regulatory response is applied, including enforcement action.
“Since 2019, we’ve spent time building our team and our capabilities, and putting in place a regulatory framework that is firm and fair. We’re continuously reviewing and refreshing our approach to ensure we take the right action at the right time”, says Ms Botherway.