NZ Transport Agency to cover costs for towbar recertifications

2 MinutesBy NZ Trucking magazineFebruary 8, 2019

The NZ Transport Agency has agreed to cover the costs of recertifications and repairs for vehicle owners affected by the revocation of towbars certified by suspended heavy vehicle specialist certifier Patrick Chu.

Meredith Connell managing partner and NZTA regulatory compliance lead Steve Haszard says the agency has agreed to cover the cost of inspections, recertifications and any necessary repairs or replacements. While the NZTA believes the liability of covering the costs lies with Chu, this decision has been made in order to lessen the impact of the revocations on vehicle owners.

“Safety is the NZ Transport Agency‘s top priority, which is why the decisions to revoke some certifications have been made. We make no apology for putting safety first, but we know that this action has had an unfortunate impact on some businesses and individuals.

“After reviewing the circumstances of the affected vehicle owners and the impact of the revocation of towbars certified by Mr Chu on associated businesses, we have agreed to cover these costs.”

Vehicle owners will be provided with details on the refund process for recertifications and repairs next week.

Haszard says the decision to revoke the towbar certifications in December 2018 was made following a thorough investigation of Chu‘s previous work, which identified potentially serious safety risks.

“Mr Chu consistently misapplied strength standards when certifying these towbars, meaning they could fail while towing heavy loads. We urge vehicle owners to understand the seriousness of this issue. They may continue to operate these vehicles, but for the safety of themselves and other road users they cannot legally use these towbars until they have been recertified and if necessary repaired or replaced.”

Haszard says the NZTA will pursue ways of recouping the recertification and repair costs on behalf of the taxpayer.