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NZ Transport Agency suspends repair certifier

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Auckland-based vehicle repair certifier Dale Barlass has been suspended from issuing certifications with immediate effect following consistent concerns about the quality of his work.

NZ Transport Agency’s regulatory compliance team will now begin a formal investigation into Mr Barlass’s files and work.

“A formal investigation will urgently look at whether we need to revoke any of the certifications Mr Barlass has issued and whether we’ll need to re-inspect any vehicles,” NZTA’s Chief Executive Fergus Gammie says.

“We can assure New Zealanders this work will be completed as quickly as possible, in order to give vehicle owners certainty.”

Acting on advice from lawyers Meredith Connell, the NZ Transport Agency suspended Mr Barlass due to a series of upheld complaints, during which Mr Barlass admitted to:

  • Failing to follow vehicle standards requirements when inspecting and certifying a vehicle
  • Not using manufacturers’ repair processes when available
  • Issuing certification to a vehicle even though it was still damaged.

The action against Mr Barlass comes as urgent work continues on 152 open compliance cases prioritised around risk to safety. He is the third vehicle inspector so far to be suspended as part of the wider review by law firm Meredith Connell.

“We have acknowledged that our previous approach has been neither sufficiently robust nor swift enough to ensure the highest levels of regulatory compliance in the past.  Now we are putting it right,” Mr Gammie says.

“New Zealanders can expect full accountability and an increased number of enforcement actions taken to ensure compliance. Today’s announcement is in line with that undertaking.”

For more information

If you have concerns about your vehicle, questions or want more information contact us at regulation@nzta.govt.nz

We have also established a call free number, 0800 468 244 for anyone who wants to anonymously provide any information they may have about non-compliance. This phone line is operated independently by Crimestoppers, ensuring full anonymity, and is available 24/7.

Visit our website www.nzta.govt.nz/regulatory-compliance-review

About repair certifiers

The Vehicle Standards Compliance Rule requires a vehicle to be inspected and certified by an NZTA-approved specialist repair certifier if the vehicle has been repaired following significant damage or deterioration. Repair certification may be required for vehicles significantly damaged in crashes in New Zealand.

A separate repair certification may be required by an entry certifier (who performs a thorough inspection and checks documentation before a vehicle can be certified and then registered for use on the road in New Zealand) if the entry certifier has determined that an imported  vehicle requires, or has had, repairs to fix structural damage or deterioration.

Where vehicles need repair, the law requires that repairs restore the vehicle to a similar condition – within ‘safe tolerance’ – to when they were manufactured. This applies to all vehicles and all types of repairs: structural, mechanical and electrical. Repair certifiers also certify some vehicles requiring re-registration, for example after a vehicle is significantly damaged in a crash in New Zealand.

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