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 John's authority was revoked in December 2012.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.


“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


1. Disclaimer

The opinions, beliefs and viewpoints expressed by the various authors and forum participants on this web site do not necessarily reflect the opinions, beliefs and viewpoints of the owners of this website or official policies of the owners of this website

2. Copyright Statement and Policy

A. The author of each article published on this web site owns his or her own words.
B. The articles on this web site may be freely redistributed in other media and non-commercial publications as long as the following conditions are met.
(i) The redistributed article may not be abridged, edited or altered in any way without the express consent of the author.
(ii) The redistributed article may not be sold for a profit or included in another media or publication that is sold for a profit without the express consent of the author.
(iii) The articles on this web site may be included in a commercial publication or other media only if prior consent for republication is received from the author. The author may request compensation for republication for commercial uses.

3. Submissions

An article may be submitted for possible publication on this web site in the following manner.
A. Logging in an Author
B. The website owners reserve the right to approve or decline Authors
C. Articles are published on this web site only on the condition that the author agrees to the terms of the Copyright Statement and Policy above.

Low volume vehicle certification review (phase 1)

From the NZTA website:
Low volume vehicle certification review (phase 1)

Published: October 2015 | Category: Research & reports | Audience: Motorists

The Low Volume Vehicle (LVV) certification system for scratch-built or modified vehicles is being reviewed to ensure it is still fit for purpose, and to look for ways it could be improved.

As a starting point, we commissioned Standards New Zealand to undertake an independent survey with a wide range of users of the LVV system, to understand their perspectives on which elements of the current system are working well, and those that are not working so well. This report outlines the findings of this consultation. There are also some Q&As that provide further information.

We are analysing the findings, along with other relevant information available to us (such as customer feedback, and correspondence such as Official Information Act requests) to form a picture of potential changes we can make to the system.

As decisions are made about those changes, we will update the information on this website.
Publication details

Author: Standards New Zealand
Published: October 2015

Browse section/chapter



Web: | Email: | Phone: +64 4 498 5990

Electronic Systems- LVV standard required?

It is no secret that a modern car is becoming a computer on wheels. Critical functions such as braking, steering, chassis dynamics are becoming- not just electronically enhanced, but electronically CONTROLLED by embedded software and electronics systems. Self-driving cars are not yet on New Zealand roads, but they do exist- and most of the enabling technology already exists to varying degrees in most modern vehicles.

Even in Motoring section

Drive-by-Wire is not some futuristic concept. Drivers today are already “driving by wire” far more than they suspect.
Pressing the brake pedal simply starts a process controlled by electronics. The brakes can be applied even without the driver pressing the pedal. Steering on some new models is fly-by wire. Traction control, chassis control all have electronic systems that over-ride the driver.
Disability drive by wire control systems exist and are used in other countries. Using such systems, a driver can control steering, acceleration, braking all from a tiny joy-stick- just like the pilot of a modern jet fighter or airliner! At present there is no process to allow such systems in New Zealand, and they are ruled out by the Low Volume Vehicle Technical Association.
Driving with a joystick

Safety is also a key area that is electronically managed- a possible approaching collision can trigger self-actuating brakes, then arm airbags and seat-belt pretensioners according to tested protocols, activate safety systems in the event of an impact, and even send out an emergency message!

There are International Standards such as ISO 26262 is a Functional Safety standard, titled “Road vehicles – Functional safety”

Modifications impinge on these Electronic Systems in many ways. Examples include seat and seat-belt modifications, disability adaptions, power train, suspension or brake modifications or changes, and structural modifications.

At present, all of this passes below the Low Volume radar- the Low Volume Vehicle Certifier may or may not identify modifications affecting electronic systems, and may or may not make a sensible decisions about whether the modification can be allowed, if so what the affects might be, and what actions should be taken to achieve a reasonably safe vehicle.
The Low Volume Vehicle Certifier may or may not not adequately understand the implications of the modifications.
The Low Volume Vehicle Certifier may or may not not document all of this for his own records, or may not document anything.

There is no guidance available, and no formal processes for a Low Volume Vehicle Certifier to follow.
The contingent liability for injuries of death could be high- It might be argued that a modification affected an electronic system to the extent of causing or contributing to an accident, or that the modification resulted in greater exposure of the vehicle occupants to Injury or death.

A formal process needs to be written as a “Low Volume Vehicle Standard” to ensure optimized vehicle safety, provide guidance to LVV Certifiers, and to protect all parties from potential legal action.
Such a Standard should follow steps such as : 1 Identify, 2 Quantify, 3 Justify, 4 Certify.

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





Roger-Phillips, UDM

Roger-Phillips, UDM



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.



“Fair Go” programme taken on by LVV Certifier

NEWS- NZ Patent granted- see

Fair Go have been getting it all wrong, attacking a NZ business “The Battery Clinic” which reconditions battery packs for Hybrid cars, and which had developed the revolutionary “Power Jockey” which both extends the life of the battery packs, increases the cars performance, and makes big improvements to […]

Suzuki Cappuccino- All power, no grip

Power without grip is nothing!

No matter how much horsepower you have at the wheel, it’s only the power you can get onto the ground that counts.

Tyres are what transmit the power to the ground, and the measure of grip is the “Coefficient of Friction” (usually called Mu). This is the ratio of […]

Aftermarket seats – the seatbelt buckle problem

Mnay enthusiasts want to fit aftermarket seats to their cars. A problem arises when the original seat has the seatbelt buckle mounted on the seat, so that the seatbelt load goes through the slide rails to the car. The easiest option is to keep the original slides, and mount the new seat to them. This […]

Vehicle Design Consultancy Launched!

When you have been doing something you enjoy for years- something which is in constant demand- perhaps it is time to call it a business and give it a name! John Brett has been designing vehicles from WAAY back- starting in the Ministry of Works at Benmore, designing all manner of ambitious and way out […]