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 John's authority was revoked for this reason in December 2012.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.

Standards NZ survey now in progress

The Standards NZ survey is now in progress, using Survey Monkey, and open until 16th August.

The questions are very similar to the questions in the survey run that we ran recently.

The responses also follow the same pattern, showing widespread dissatisfaction with the LVV system.
Unfortunately we cannot see the comments.

This should make it clear to the Minister, and to the NZTA, that they need to proceed urgently to the next stage of the review.


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Gagging Order application dismissed by High Court Judge

John Brett

John Brett

Today 26th August in the High Court of Auckland, the Duty Judge declined to issue a Interlocutory application by plaintiffs on notice for an interim injunction, applied for on behalf of Mr AP Johnson and the Low Volume Vehicle Technical Association, both signed by Mr A.P.Johnson. The order sought would have had the effect of preventing anything being published on the site WRITTEN BY JOHN BRETT critical of the MR Johnson or of the LVVTA.

I was served on Friday 21st, so had no time to arrange for representation. I therefore represented myself.
My affidavit can be seen here:-IN THE HIGH COURT- LVVTA vs JB Affidavit of John Brett

The requirement in law for issuing such an order is that the material is “Obviously untruthful and defamatory” The Judge clearly did not think that anything on the site was “Obviously untruthful and defamatory.”

It was also noted that there was material on the site critical of the Mr Johnson and the LVVTA, written by:
Hon Craig Foss Associate Minister of Transport,
David Seymour, Epsom electorate MP, leader of the ACT party New Zealand,
Roger Phillips CEO of U-Drive Mobility Ltd,
Automotive news, and other publications.

None of these people or organizations are being sued for defamation.

The point was raised that Mr AP Johnson (as an employee/Contractor does not have the authority to commit the LVVTA to these proceedings- the Lawyer needed to have obtained authorizing signatures from the Management Committee. To do this, the constituent organizations of the LVVTA would have had to been consulted and advised of the likely costs.

A picture was painted by Mr Johnson’s Lawyers of me as a “lone crusader” a “freedom fighter” and “sadly familiar tones of a zealot” and more. This was ignored by the Judge.

I could paint a picture of Mr Johnson as Desperate to cling on to his power, and seeking to create a distraction from the growing tide of dissatisfaction at him and at the LVVTA’s role in the Low Volume vehicle system.

I could also paint a picture of Mr Johnson as a BULLYING, suing only the person who he believes he can intimidate, but afraid to sue all the other parties who are critical of him and of the LVVTA.

The case will go to a hearing some time in the future. I will consult my legal team, and provide them with all the evidence they need to rebut these claims. I may consider counter-claiming against Mr Johnson for all of the years of defamation I have suffered from him, and consequent damages.

I would far rather see Mr Johnson give up this personal vendetta before it affects his health, and for him to go away and find a new hobby.

I would far rather see a new fresh re-launch of the Low Volume Vehicle system that will enable innovators to utilize new technologies and create opportunities.


Note- the Judges Minute is here- Minute

Government probe into LVVTA and LVV system

1 Low volume vehicle review welcomed

Press release- NZ Police
Thursday, 9 July 2015, 11:53 am

Hon Craig Foss

Hon Craig Foss
Associate Minister of Transport
9 July 2015

Low volume vehicle review welcomed

Associate Transport Minister Craig Foss is welcoming a review of the certification process for vehicles built from scratch or modified for a specialised purpose.

The review of low volume vehicle (LVV) certification, initiated by the New Zealand Transport Agency, will be undertaken by Standards New Zealand.

“The LVV certification process is about ensuring vehicles built from scratch or modified for a specialised purpose are safe to be on the road,” Mr Foss says.

The review will begin this month with a scoping phase. This will involve working closely with the vehicle industry, certifiers and others to better understand the strengths of the current system and potential areas for improvement.

“Standards New Zealand brings an independent perspective to this review. I’m pleased it will be seeking feedback from a wide range of people, including those in the industry,” Mr Foss says.

“I’m keen to ensure our LVV certification system enables innovators to utilise new technologies and create opportunities.”

More information on the LVV certification process:

Craig Foss Letter and Standards Association review proposal

Statement from David Seymour, Epsom electorate MP, leader of the ACT party New Zealand, and qualified Engineer

“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.”

3 Government minister to probe NZTA ban on wheelchair-access vehicles
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 than test standards is properly overhauled, this travesty has the potential to recur any time a modern production vehicle is assessed for certification”

“When its (the LVVTA) own staff are not capable of measuring bump steer it begs the question of how it proposes to correctly tell the difference between safe and unsafe”

“”Needless to say this destroyed any vestige of credibility that he (Dan Myers) may have had left and left all present in no doubt that the LVVTA had no competence”

Beligerent attitude, high handed approach

“Beligerent attitude, high handed approach”

“Belligerence of the LVVTA CEO Mr Tony Johnson”
“high handed approach taken by LVVTA”
“by their own (LVVTA) admission (nothing was done until- ) a complaint was lodged by potential industry competitors”

“LVVTA engineering advice proved wrong on all counts.
This UDM conclusion was supported by qualified experts inspection of crash test cars being prepared for ECE/EU certification in France”

“UDM is free to build and import cars from France whilst it is prevented by the LVVTA from building them here. What is wrong with this picture?”
“This is in direct contrast to The Prime Ministers stated objectives of diversification and development of export opportunities for small businesses the country needs”

“-but if that is the level of performance and accuracy that is acceptable to NZTA for a registration agency then NZTA clearly does not have very high standards or level of expectation.”

LVVTA Position statement UDM INITIAL Rebuttal available for download LVVTA 29 dec position statement rebuttal proof

UDM FINAL Rebuttal available for download here LVVTA March 2015 UDM rebuttal 2

Tony Johnson justifies and glorifies his technical illiteracy, in this piece from NZV8 magazine. PRACTICALLY SPEAKING
He overlooks that he and his organization has now become the road-block.
He overlooks that LVV certifiers and modifiers are walking away in despair at the LVVTA.
He overlooks that the LVV System is responsible for deaths, and for putting lives at risk.
Time for him to be got off the potty to make way for competent, practical people

Old car nuts

Old car nuts

LVV Certification Satisfaction Survey

Survey now closed, results to be provided to NZTA


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 […]

John Brett- Position Statement on Independent Enquiry

Position Statement- 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 […]

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

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 […]

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 […]