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 John’s authority was revoked in December 2012.

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

APOLOGY

“The LVVTA has brought it to my attention that statements I have made in relation to it and its employees may have been perceived as defamatory.

I sincerely regret that and apologise for any harm caused. I have taken down the statements identified by the LVVTA of concern to it.

I have strong views about the low volume vehicle certification process and intend in the future to direct my energies into the public inquiry now being held in relation to it.”

John Brett 7th October 2015

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Banned wheelchair-access vehicle maker sues NZ transport bodies

A company forced by the NZ Transport Agency (NZTA) to stop building wheelchair-access vehicles is suing the government body and its offshoot the Low Volume Vehicle Technical Association (LVVTA) for losses “expected to exceed $5 million.”

Lawyers for vehicle manufacturer Drive NZ Classic Ltd (DNZC) have filed a statement of claim in the High Court against the LVVTA as first defendant and the NZTA as second defendant.

The filing claims both the LVVTA and NZTA were negligent in their dealings with DNZC and had “no legal power” to force it to close its production facilities.

It says the LVVTA made “public statements, including to customers and prospective customers (of the vehicle modifier), which were incorrect and negatively affected (its) reputation.” It also says LVVTA misled the NZTA.

Roger Phillips

DNZC was formerly known as U-Drive Mobility (UDM), a Waiuku-based company owned by automotive businessman Roger Phillips (above). It modified Skoda Yeti vehicles for wheelchair users to drive themselves.

UDM built 10 vehicles from June 2011 to June 2013, certified by the LVVTA and its appointed agent and priced between $85,000 and $100,000. Nine were sold in New Zealand and one in Australia.

The first car had an original steel floor and was sold in January 2012. The second car was one of nine with aluminium composite floors. It was sold later in 2012 to an Australian customer.

Between October 2012 and June 2013, UDM modified the remaining eight Skoda Yeti vehicles. Meantime, it had applied to the LVVTA to move into volume production.

“On an unknown date,” says the statement of claim, “LVVTA received a complaint or complaints from competitors of UDM regarding the UDM vehicles.”

Yeti3

In December 2013, the NZTA notified the owners of the vehicles that certification had been revoked and they could no longer drive them on public roads.

LVVTA and NZTA said it had issues with seatbelt anchorages, the aluminium composite floor, use of adhesives, the independent rear suspension, durability, workmanship, and insisted that UDM further modify the vehicles.

UDM did so between December 2013 and July 2014. It hired independent engineers to test modifications and present findings to the LVVTA and NZTA.

But the NZTA refused to certify the vehicles. The statement of claim filed by Hamilton law firm Braun Bond and Lomas says the refusal was “based on erroneous grounds, a misunderstanding of the evidence presented to it, and a failure to accept advice and test results from independent and qualified experts in the relevant fields.”

The plaintiff DNZC claims an amount to be quantified before the hearing and interest on the sum from the date the relevant loses were suffered. A date for the hearing has yet to be set.

Automotive News

Freedom of the Press

“We do not believe any group of men adequate enough or wise enough to operate without scrutiny or without criticism. We know that the only way to avoid error is to detect it, that the only way to detect it is to be free to inquire. We know that in secrecy error undetected will flourish and subvert”. – J Robert Oppenheimer.

“Press freedom is one of the most important freedoms in a civilised society. It allows us to discover things about the world, including things the powers-that-be would prefer to keep hidden, and it allows us to give our own take on the world, too. It’s the freedom that lets us see what’s going on, and to say our piece about it. It’s the building block of democracy, and of liberty. In the words of Thomas Jefferson: ‘Our liberty cannot be guarded but by the freedom of the press.’ ”

Extract from Editorial by BRENDAN O’NEILL
EDITOR, SPIKED.

NZ Legislation- Bill of Rights

HAS THE LOW VOLUME VEHICLE SYSTEM FAILED?

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 failure of an LVV Certified trike.

Illustration by Nick Reedy

Illustration of a “HOBBY CAR” by Nick Reedy of Greymouth

QUESTIONABLE OPERATION OF THE LVVTA

Here are two examples of the sort of questions that do need to be asked and answered before a way forward for the LVV System can be found:

QUESTION 1 How can the NZ Transport agency justify allowing the LVVTA to make Certification judgements?
The LVVTA have a contract for ‘Desktop Auditing’ to ensure LVV Certifiers are meeting the LVV Standards, however the LVVTA appear to be making Certification decisions under this guise.
We can see no provision in any legislation authorizing NZTA to allow this.

QUESTION 2 On what basis does the LVVTA assume that their knowledge is superior to that of the LVV Certifiers? None of the LVVTA Staff are LVV Certifiers, and do not even meet the requirements for many categories. Yet experienced LVV Certifiers have their judgement questioned, are required to accept the judgement of the LVVTA, and are reported to NZTA for ‘incorrect’ decisions. Several recent incidents have proven that the judgement of the LVVTA can be seriously wrong.

CONSEQUENCES
The LVV system is failing to retain the skilled Certifiers
on which integrity and safety of the system depends- such as-

( Names removed by request )

LVVTA are now slanderering these ex-Certifiers, calling them ‘Rogue Certifiers’ and ‘safety risks’ instead of recognizing them as outstanding, highly regarded Certifiers whose experience is a major loss to the system.

THE LOW VOLUME VEHICLE SYSTEM HAS LOST THE ABILITY TO CARRY OUT HIGHER LEVEL CERTIFICATIONS, BECAUSE

A ….. LVV STANDARDS COVER ONLY VERY BASIC MODIFICATIONS.
B ….. THE SKILLED AND QUALIFIED CERTIFIERS HAVE LEFT THE SYSTEM, REPLACED BY ‘HOBBYIST’ CERTIFIERS.

The LVV system is reverting to just a low-level ‘hobby car’ certification system.

Emergency appointments of Certifiers from a ‘Hot-Rod’ background lacks credibility, because:-
1…..’hot rod’ experience in no way qualifies a LVV Certifier to deal with the range and complexities of modern automotive engineering.
2…..a Certifier who is beholden to the LVVTA lacks the independence required by the deed of appointment.

The LVV system is failing to meet the needs of vehicle modifiers– the number of Certifications is falling whilst the number of vehicles and the number of mods needing LVV Certification are rising-

1…….Abandoned Certifications We receive continuous enquiries for LVV Certification, from all over New Zealand.
We give out the phone numbers of other Certifiers, we even contact them ourselves on behalf of customers.
In the end, we are left with sheaves of job-sheets, for vehicles which WILL NEVER BE LVV CERTIFIED

2……Modified cars exported- We are aware of many modified and scratch-built vehicles EXPORTED to avoid the LVV system in NZ

3……Modifiers leaving the business- We are aware of PROFESSIONAL MODIFIERS (many with export business) who have CLOSED THEIR BUSINESSES or moved out of NZ.

U Drive Mobility are one recent example of this- now building in France

4…..Avoidance of LVV System Motor-home builders IN NEW ZEALAND switching to Certification to ADR Second Stage system, to avoid the costs, delays, and irregularities of the New Zealand LVV system. Private modifiers are being forced to drive vehicles without LVV Certification

Uncertified vehicles

Police at the bottom of the cliff (Ambulances not visible in this shot)

5……Soaring costs-
The LVVTA levy, has increased, with more increases anticipated, as legal and insurance costs start to bite.
LVV Certifiers have increased their charges to cover time they now require to process Certifications.
In Auckland the total cost to the customer for LVV Certification has increased by an average of 25% in June 2014.

This means that to LVV Certify say, a set of wheel spacers, or adjustable platform suspension struts, will now cost the vehicle owner $550 to $650, which could exceed the cost of the modification.

If NZTA loses faith in the LVV System, (Quite likely)
it is possible that:

1 … Minor Modifications: TSD agents, or WOF agents be authorized to pass a range of minor modifications

2 … Self- Certification: Professional Modification businesses (seat installers, motor-home builders etc) be accredited to Self-Certify

3 ….Hobby cars and Hot-rods– (a very small part of the LVV picture) could be left out in the cold, are unable to be driven on the road.

Not road legal

Going to the Beach Hop?

4 …. The LVVTA and LVV Certification plates become history.

IS THIS THE FUTURE WE WANT?

How about some clear thinking about the LVV System of the future?

1 Trust the Certifiers to do the job they are appointed to do. Cut LVVTA out of the Certification process. Allow Certifiers to make their own plates, or use a Certifier appointed Plate printing contractor.

2 Introduce proper “Certifier Training”, conducted ‘on line’ and on the job, by Certifiers or Industry Professionals, (not by the LVVTA) and allow proper technical debate to occur.

3 Allow Certifiers to Certify to proven International Standards if they choose, instead of faulty LVVTA Standards.

4 Form a Certifier controlled “Standards Committee” to develop and change LVV Standards, instructing LVVTA to print and distribute.

5 Simplify Certifier Categories to say “Mechanic based Certifier” (able to do most certifications) and “Engineer Certifier” for situations where the skills of an Engineer are required. Allow “Engineer Certifiers” to consult to “Mechanic Certifiers” when required.

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 […]

Davis Seymour on Free Speech

Dear Friend If you believe what you read in the news, you probably think I’m a racist who caused another politician to require Police protection. I wrote the article below to explain why that couldn’t be further from the truth, raising questions about how such a story came to be. Unfortunately, the media outlets most […]

Back to Court- (again)

The LVVTA is taking me back to the High Court yet again. This will be the fourth time in the High Court, and once in the Court of Appeal.

COURT DATE IS NOW SET FOR 18TH MAY 2020, JUDGEMENT AFTER THAT COULD TAKE 6 TO 9 MONTHS- that is about a year from now. This […]

Denial of Service attacks

We advise readers and contributors to this site that we are experiencing DENIAL OF SERVICE attacks, which overload the server so that the site cannot be reached. We have increased bandwidth twice, and are developing contingency plans if this continues. We have not yet identified the source of these attacks. Apologies to all- please email […]

Court of Appeal Hearing

CA725/2017 Low Volume Vehicle Technical Association v John Bernard Brett and Anor

This is to confirm that a fixture date has been allotted for the hearing of this appeal at 10.00 a.m. on Thursday 20th September 2018 One day has been allotted for the hearing. This will be at the Court of Appeal, Wellington. Three […]

Defamation Trial.

CIV-2015-404-001925 Mr AP Johnson and Low Volume Vehicle Technical Association vs John Brett

Auckland High Court

I self represented as a Lay Litigant

The trial occurred on Monday and Tuesday this week.

I claimed that I did not recognize the LVVTA as a legitimate party to the proceedings. My witness, Mr Robert Berger […]

Imported Modified Vehicles

In an email received from NZTA is this content:

“Good afternoon,

In September we invited you to comment on a proposed change to the process for imported modified vehicles, which would allow these vehicles to be excluded from LVV certification in New Zealand if they’ve already met appropriate overseas standards.

Please find attached a document […]

Low Volume Vehicle Certification review- update from NZTA 31 August 2015

In an email received from the LVReview@nzta.govt.nz is this content:

In our last email update, we told you about a number of changes we were working on to improve the Low Volume Vehicle (LVV) system. Those changes have now been completed and further information about them follows. This update also contains information about work underway […]

Low volume vehicle certification review (phase 2)

From NZTA: This is to let you know we have updated our website with a new Questions and Answers document to provide an overview of work since we last communicated with you, and work currently under way.

Since we last updated you in December 2015, we have finalised our actions around: • Increasing Transport Agency […]