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)
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:
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.
The NZ Transport Agency is no longer issuing WoF recheck vouchers for customers of suspended vehicle inspectors and inspecting organisations.
From October 2018 to 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 Transport 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. If you have already received a voucher and it has expired, the Transport Agency will not be able to process payment.
If you received a WoF from any of the suspended organisations in the review and did not receive a letter, you may be entitled to a free WoF inspection voucher.