Vehicle testing inspector suspended

An inspector at the Vehicle Testing NZ branch at The Hub in Botany was suspended following an investigation. Times photo Wayne Martin

A vehicle testing inspector working in east Auckland was suspended after being the subject of a complaint.

The male staff member worked at the Vehicle Testing NZ branch at The Hub in Botany.

Waka Kotahi NZ Transport Agency senior manager for safer vehicles Nicole Botherway says the inspector was suspended following an investigation.

The agency undertakes regular reviews to ensure vehicle inspectors are conducting inspections in compliance with the relevant manual, she says.

“If we believe there may be a significant safety risk to the public because of a vehicle inspector failing to meet the standards needed to carry out their delegated authorities, our regulatory powers allow us to suspend an inspector or inspecting organisation.

“Further actions as a result of this suspension can range from a warning, a suspension with conditions to allow the inspector or inspecting organisation to work their way back to compliance, or a proposal to revoke their authority to conduct these inspections.”

Botherway says the agency will only refer an inspector or inspecting organisation to police if evidence of criminal activity is found.

She says the agency’s Safer Vehicles programme is working through the next steps for the suspended inspector and the case has not been referred to police.

A copy of a letter sent by the NZ Transport Agency to an affected vehicle owner and seen by the Times says the agency has “safety concerns about the warrant of fitness” (WoF) obtained for the vehicle.

The letter states the vehicle in question received its WoF from the VTNZ at The Hub.

“Their vehicle inspector was immediately suspended from carrying out WoF inspections on 04/02/20201 due to safety concerns in their work.

“While your current WoF is still valid and no specific concerns about your vehicles have currently been identified, we strongly recommend you get your vehicles re-inspected rather than waiting until its expiry date.”

The letter says the recipient can pay to have their vehicle re-inspected or talk to VTNZ at The Hub about the branch meeting the cost of the inspection.

“You will also need to pay for the cost of any works required on your vehicle to get it up to WoF standard.

“We remind you it is every vehicle owner’s responsibility to ensure that vehicles are up to WoF standard.”

Botherway says letters were sent to the owners of about 1720 vehicles with current WoFs issued by the suspended inspector.

“In instances where an inspector has been suspended and letters are issued to owners, the warrant of fitness is still valid.

“We may not have specific concerns about the safety of every vehicle inspected by an inspector who is subsequently suspended, but we strongly recommend owners get their vehicles re-inspected rather than waiting until its expiry date.

“This is for their safety and the safety of all other road users.”

VTNZ national technical manager Craig Basher says the organisation has found no safety concerns with any of the vehicles presented for re-inspection since the letters were sent out.

Basher says several VTNZ branches, including at The Hub in Botany, are currently closed as a measure to recover costs lost from last year’s level 3 and 4 Covid-19 lockdowns.

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