LVV Satisfaction Survey Damns LVVTA

The Self-Adulation of the LVVTA is not shared by survey respondents.

5.28% or respondents were associated with LVVTA or NZTA. Their responses are included.

Only 8.99% were very satisfied with the technical competence of the LVVTA

Only 9.5% were satisfied with the speed of service of the LVVTA

72.38% want change to the LVV System.

Some really useful and constructive comments were received.
Full results will be released to the NZTA.

See our "TODAYS'S CARTOONS" page reflecting survey results.

John Brett

John is a professional engineer with 50 years experience.

John has designed and built many cars, trucks, and vehicle assembly facilities.

John has worked on design of roads, bridges, cranes, transmission towers, and buildings, and operation, maintenance and upgrade of hydro and gas turbine power stations.

John was a LVV Certifier for 13 years. John has long been a whistle-blower, expressing the view that the LVV system is dangerously deficient. John's authority was revoked for this reason in December 2012.

John rides a 1992 Yamaha FJ1200ABS, and is also a keen road and off road cyclist.

John Brett- Position Statement on Independent Enquiry

Position Statement- John Brett

John Brett

John Brett

I commenced Low Volume Vehicle Certification in April 1999 when the LVV System was overhauled, and was administered by Motorsafe.

I have been told that Mr Johnson (then a Technical Officer with the LVVTA) very angry that LVV Certifiers had been appointed who were NOT from his Hot-Rod mates.

I rapidly built up a large and loyal client base, and have LVV Certified over 4500 vehicles
I was considered an excellent Certifier by all my clients, and by LTSA and their successor NZTA, consistently getting near maximum scores on my PRS reviews. I have a large file of very positive references.
The website New Zealand Complaints has NO complaints about my company, however the recent survey on the Low Volume Vehicle system showed only 8.99% of respondents satisfied with the LVVTA

There were no Low Volume Vehicle standards at that time, other than the ‘Hot Rod Manual’. I used international standards such as ADR when required.

Mr Johnson began making complaints to the then LTSA and their successor NZTA about vehicles I had certified. Nothing I certified has caused any accident, injury or fatality. None of the complaints were upheld, and no actions were taken by LTSA or NZTA.

The LVVTA involvement in Auditing LVV Certifications began around 2007, using outside hired staff who had no previous LVV experience.

The issues raised supporting my revocation included all of these previously dismissed complaints as new issues- (Double Jeopardy)

Other later examples used to justify my revocation included many wrong statements and lies (e.g. I was blamed for faulty inspection of one vehicle which actually met standards when inspected. It had then driven for 3 months, raced, and unsafely re-modified before being reviewed) If interested my final submission is here:- IN THE DISTRICT COURT-Submission 2
Unfortunately the Judge chose to believe the litany of lies from LVVTA.

I believe that Mr Johnson and his staff have been carrying out a process of “Constructive Dismissal” for around 9 years using their review process to find fault (real or imagined) on the Certifiers that Mr Johnson wanted removed. This process is still being used to remove excellent LVV Certifiers who are not liked by Mr Johnson. Because the LVVTA system is not transparent, this cannot be proven or disproven.

In the Appeal Hearing, under my cross-examination, Mr Johnson admitted many highly dangerous and life threatening errors and practices of the LVVTA that he had previously denied.

Subsequent events are now revealing further huge areas of incompetence on the part of LVVTA and its staff. One example is body re-structure- e.g.the UDM Skoda disability vehicles. In another example the LVVTA ordered the removal of the Anti-Lock Braking from a vehicle because “LVVTA don’t understand this technology”!

In my opinion, the LVVTA have no claim to be the source of all knowledge of engineering, or even vehicle engineering.
According to legal opinion, the LVVTA have no legal right to be making LVV Certification decisions, or judging the decisions of LVV Certifiers

In my opinion, there is no way forward for the Low Volume Vehicle system until NZTA affirm the responsibility of the LVV Certifiers, and eliminate the LVVTA from the Certifying process.

In my opinion, a new culture of Safety, Innovation and Sharing of Knowledge should be the aim,
rather than the present culture of Danger, Ignorance and Authoritarianism.

I look forward to an Independent Inquiry into the Low Volume System, and offer any assistance that I can give.

John Brett June 2015

Current UDM position relating to certification of modern special needs vehicles in New Zealand

Skoda Yeti at French Factory

Skoda Yeti at French Factory

The LVVTA regulatory regime appears to have worked well for recreational builders of hot rods, vintage cars, and other vehicles that usually make a virtue of old technology.

On the other hand the straightforward and predictable nature of this regulatory regime is a major disadvantage for professional companies that would make New Zealand a cutting edge exporter of automotive technology.

For example, epoxy bonded aluminium honeycomb is a high performance material (Wikipedia quote “strongest material by weight known to man!”) that is currently used in the race/performance car, aeronautical and space exploration industries. The bonding system used is a chemical process that results in a permanent bond, stronger than equivalent weld material, with much larger contact surface area and resulting strength. The LVVTA, which relies on conventional 1900’s technology, describe this as “gluing together office cubicle dividers with panel glue!”

Who is right? A report by Dr Battley, Director of the Centre for Advanced Composite Materials from the University of Auckland, who found that UDM’s design and construction, is more than strong enough for the design purpose. The LVVTA has a place, but it is not in the analysis and certification of cutting edge technology used in commercial automotive manufacturing operations.

A trades qualified opinion based system cannot provide an appropriate certification process capable of dealing with complex, modern, safe, reliable, commercially manufactured vehicles taking advantage of new materials and emerging technology. These vehicles are required to meet international safety standards which are automatically accepted, and by far the largest volume of vehicles on New Zealand roads.

The ignorance and stubborn refusal by the LVVTA to engage appropriate engineering expertise as required by their own charter, has caused huge harm to UDM’s domestic and international export efforts. After 2 years of being marginalized by an LVVTA system unable to read an epoxy bonding strength label, nor calculate a Composite honeycomb panel manufacturers load chart, nor measure rear suspension bump steer, UDM has lost patience with the misplaced “Safety” excuse continually relied upon by NZTA to explain the incompetent engineering analysis and actions of its certifying agency.

Safety has not been an issue with the exported UDM cars, now into their 4th year of operation, nor with the New Zealand cars wrongfully removed from the road and then reinstated, including a write off accident where the UDM car functioned as required of its design. The UDM car is gaining an excellent reputation for reliability, especially in relation to its world leading automated access systems, and to date there has been no measurable deterioration in any of its structural or mechanical functions. CEO Tony Johnson’s self serving statements and the actions of his staff fuelling this travesty, need to be sidelined and dealt with separately. The UDM vehicle has been internationally recognized for its design build quality and the unique service it provides. The European market cars have completed all ECE/EU compliance test requirements and operate in a far higher stress and handling related environment than the same domestic NZ market cars which rarely exceed speeds of 100kph. The LVVTA’s “Safety” scapegoat and its related micro detailed finger pointing has been exposed for what it was by the NZTA’s own qualified experts report, and will be seen as such by any independent review.

It is obvious that the LVVTA does not have the ability, nor desire, to operate an appropriate International standards based system needed to support UDM and any other innovative New Zealand automotive company involved in design, manufacturing and technology based efforts to produce market niche or social needs products. The organisation’s mantra and track record clearly demonstrate that asking such an organization to take on any role other than hobby cars is a disservice to the Government’s stated objective to encourage hi-tech innovative industry, as well as a disservice to the many disadvantaged New Zealand citizens needing mobility freedom.

The current LVV system is neither transparent, nor accountable. It must be taken out of this role, which it annexed by default, and an appropriate standards based system put in its place that cannot be manipulated.

In the meantime all UDM vehicles need to be reinstated with the original certification immediately, and an independent enquiry launched to investigate how to put in place a satisfactory, modern standards based Internationally recognized certification system for all NZ based commercial manufacturers, that genuinely supports road safety, and facilitates entry to a growing export market requirement for diversification currently supported by government for the benefit of all New Zealanders.

UDM position statement June 2015

Government probe into LVVTA and LVV system

Statement from David Seymour, Epsom electorate MP, and leader of ACT New Zealand.

“I have viewed the reports related to UDM’s vehicles, both those prepared by LVVTA and those by professional engineers. It is clear that the LVV process, while ideal for builders of hot rods, kit cars, and the like, does not have the technical expertise to service commercial operators working closer to the frontier of technology.

A review of this system is long overdue. If New Zealand is going to be have the knowledge economy that most of us want, it must have a regulatory environment that works.”

Automotive News

Government minister to probe NZTA ban on wheelchair-access vehicles

The Government is to look into why a minor transport body charged with approving ‘hobby’ projects like hot-rods has banned the use of NZ-built wheelchair-access vehicles that continue to be passed fit by independent authorities.



Associate Transport Minister Craig Foss has asked his officials to appoint an adjudicator to look into getting the self-drive cars back on the road. Transport Minister Simon Bridges and Disability Issues Minister Nicky Wagner are also in the loop.

The deadline brings executive attention to a two-year dispute between the company that built the vehicles and the Low Volume Vehicle Technical Association (LVVTA), a branch of the NZ Transport Agency that banned them. It comes soon after ACT leader David Seymour, a qualified engineer, checked out one of the vehicles himself.

The are 11 in all, converted Skoda Yetis (top) designed to be driven by the wheelchair-users themselves. They were built by U-Drive Mobility (UDM), a Waiuku-based operation owned and run by businessman Roger Phillips. The LVVTA at first approved them for use, but later banned them, claiming they didn’t meet LVVTA standards.



Wheelchair-users who had bought the vehicles were suddenly stranded. Three owners have died since the ban was imposed late in 2013. Since then, Phillips, the LVVTA and the NZTA have been butting heads while Phillips set up a plant in France to make identical vehicles for Europe. A French provincial government helped kick-start the operation with a 400,000 euro grant.

Phillips said Seymour rang him after being told of the stalemate with the NZTA. “He came out to the plant on a Sunday night, went over the Skoda, and left,” Phillips said. “That same night he sent me an email, saying he was particularly impressed with the vehicles, couldn’t understand why they had been banned, and that he would be asking government for an urgent inquiry.”

The inquiry is long overdue. There is anecdotal evidence of departmental duck-shoving, of ministerial staff being deliberately fed mis-information, of one transport department knowing very little of what the other one is doing. No one in the government’s transport sector will admit as much, but the LVVTA’s bungling of the UDM vehicles has annoyed its NZTA masters.

NZTA review aims to find out if a review is needed

The NZTA has confirmed it will review a branch of the LVVTA to see if a review of the branch of the LVVTA is needed. The branch is the Low Volume Vehicle (LVV), more a system than a branch.

The NZTA will also review the LVVTA, although it says it is doing no such thing. “We are not reviewing the LVVTA,” says NZTA executive Robin Elston. “As one of the participants in the system they (LVVTA) are naturally included in the wider review of the LVV systems and processes.”

Loosely, then, the NZTA review of the LVV includes a review of the LVVTA, because the NZTA is largely responsible for how the LVV works and what the LVVTA does.

So what is LVV? In a nutshell, it is a process put in place by the LVVTA and NZTA which vehicle certifiers follow. The LVVTA trains and monitors the certifiers; the NZTA appoints the certifiers. The LVVTA? It was set up by the NZTA in the late 1990s to approve for use on NZ roads ‘home-built’ vehicles like hot-rods.

Elston said the review of the LVV would be broken into three phases: scoping, analysis and implementation, that is if implementation was required. She said: “We are currently working with a potential provider to finalise the terms of reference for the scoping phase.

“It is intended that this phase will provide the opportunity for all system participants, including customers, to identify pain points and areas that are working well. This information would be then used to determine any specific areas for review.”

Roger-Phillips, UDM

Roger-Phillips, UDM

The LVVTA has been up to its ears in controversy of late, especially since being accused of overstepping its hobby vehicle brief with UDM and Phillips. Another case in point: one of its LVV certifiers approved as roadworthy for NZ converted wheelchair vehicles later found to be dangerously faulty.

There were 90 of them, modified in Italy by the KIVI company, and bought by the Accident Compensation Commission in 2008 for $8.34 million. Then ACC claims executive Gail Kettle signed off on them. Kettle is now the claims manager for the Earthquake Commission.

Soon after their arrival in NZ a Tauranga engineer contracted to the ACC and NZTA found most of them were unsafe. What happened to them? They got shoved here and there for five years until the LVVTA was told to have them fixed.

It got Carterton company Braiden International to do the work. Braiden says it worked on 50 of the 90, to repair sloppy Italian workmanship, including structural problems the Tauranga engineer years earlier said would surface to bite the ACC, LVVTA and NZTA on the backside.

The ACC and NZTA should have hired a qualified structural engineer to inspect the vehicles in Italy before the ACC’s Kettle signed the $8.34m cheque. Instead, the ACC sent a LVV certifier, who was wined and dined by KIVI’s public relations people and never got to check out the NZ-bound shipment until it landed here.



“NZTA clearly does not have very high standards..”

LVVTA problem From UDM rebuttal:

“It is quite clear that the NZTA does not recognize that it has a problem that it needs to fix, and at the very least it warrants an independent inquiry”

“Until NZTA accept that the LVVTA and its 20th century methodology and poor assessment systems that rely on opinions rather […]


The Low Volume Vehicle System has failed in the following:-

The LVVTA have failed to develop and maintain LVV Standards- SEE- ORS Submission2 The LVVTA are failing to maintain an acceptable standard of safety of vehicles modified. LVVTA DANGERS- THE FACTS I understand that another Coroners report is pending, concerning a fatality resulting from the […]


DISCLAIMER THIS ARTICLE CONTAINS FACTUAL STATEMENTS MADE WHICH ARE VERIFIABLE FROM OUR CERTIFICATION RECORDS, COURT RECORDS AND OTHER SOURCES We have been threatened with Libel action by Lawyers acting for Mr Johnson of the LVVTA, and accordingly have:-removed some clauses, and changed others that were mentioned. We have also made the offer to Mr Johnson’s […]

Low Volume Vehicle Certification- Your Queries

We have been answering queries about LVV Certification ever since this website was started. The queries and the replies are spread around a number of posts.

So just to make things easier to find- here are some of the pages which might already have the answer you are looking for, or where you can post […]

Engineer’s report on faulty wheelchair vehicles haunts NZTA (UN-SAFER JOURNEYS?)

KIVI Kea Carnival conversion

Automotive News

The NZ Transport Agency dismissed a written report from one of its senior engineers warning that millions of dollars worth of wheelchair-access vehicles imported from Italy for use by the Accident Compensation Commission were unsafe and should not be allowed on NZ roads until they were repaired.

Tauranga […]

NZ Designed Wheelchair vehicles – a needless mess-LVVTA and NZTA were warned in January 2011

In January 2011 the Auckland LVV Certifiers collaborated to write this report ORS Submission2

Page 8 points out the lack of any suitable standard for Body Reconstruction, and the likely consequences No action was taken- except to attack those Certifiers who contributed.



Wheelchair-user cars pulled from roads


18th April 2015 UDM release complete rebuttal to the LVVTA position statement, and reveal that these vehicles have European compliance allowing vehicles built in France to be registered in NZ, whereas vehicles built in NZ are prevented by LVVTA from being registered UDM rebuttal 29th August 2014

LVVTA, NZTA contradicted by Ferrari […]


In the District Court Held at Manukau

CIV 2013-055-093

In the matter of Section 106 of the Transport Act 1998


In the matter of an appeal against a decision of the New Zealand Transport Agency to, inter alia, revoke a deed of appointment as a low volume vehicle inspector/inspecting organization

Between John Bernard Brett, […]