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 John’s authority was revoked in December 2012.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


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High Court and Court of Appeal may have reached wrong conclusion

An opinion, presented by Rosa Laugesen* Submitted for the LLB (Honours) degree, Faculty of Law, Victoria University of Wellington, 2019 argues that the decisions of both the High Court and the Court of Appeal may both be faulty.

Article title-

DM Paciocco observed, rightly, that “persons ought not to be deprived easily of fundamental
rights and freedoms”.156 This article has argued that whilst a decision to deprive oneself of one’s right
to freedom of expression should be recognised by the courts, this recognition should not be given
easily. Courts must ensure that the waiver reflects the right-holder’s free choice or otherwise s 3 bodies
will be allowed to abandon their constitutional commitments too easily.
In Brett, the Court of Appeal failed to give effect to this notion. This article has submitted that,
while it was right to find that Mr Brett could waive his right to freedom of expression, the Court’s s 5
approach failed to subject his waiver to proper scrutiny. If the Court had taken a different approach it
may not have concluded that the waiver was valid. Unfortunately, Mr Brett may in fact have been
deprived too easily of a fundamental right


None of this has any current relevance- offered only for interest

LVVTA now gets NZTA funding

Banned wheelchair-access vehicle maker sues NZ transport bodies

NEWS 13th November 2020- Strike Out application by LVVTA and NZTA fails

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.”


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

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 responsible for spreading the story, Newshub and Stuff, wouldn’t publish it. I want to thank David Farrar at Kiwiblog for giving me a platform, and ask you to share this email far and wide. We can’t let the cause of free speech be shut down by the media, politicians, and other parts of the establishment.
Yours sincerely,
David Seymour
P.S. If you agree, please forward this email and consider joining ACT here or donating to help us fight for free speech here. Article follows.

David Seymour on free speech
“Let it be known, the public beating has not gone out of fashion.” So goes the quote from the movie Thank You for Smoking, as politicians attack the wildly unpopular protagonist, a tobacco lobbyist.

I’ve found those words to be true over the past week and it has strengthened my belief in the importance of freedom of expression.

To recap, I was asked about Green MP Golriz Ghahraman’s stance on free speech. In her own words “it is vital that the public is involved in a conversation about what speech meets the threshold for being regulated, and what mix of enforcement tools should be used.”

I believe that such an idea, and by extension politicians who promote it, is a danger to our free society. When asked about Ghahraman’s position, in the middle of a 15-minute radio interview, I responded that I thought she was a ‘menace to freedom.’

What has followed has been extraordinary. It has been a lesson in how beat-ups and witch-hunts occur, and why it’s so important that we retain laws that allow us to express ourselves freely. By Tuesday afternoon, I was being asked by media if I was responsible for Ghahraman requiring a security detail. It was clearly a rhetorical question.

Politicians, journalists and other establishment figures have lined up to denounce my comment.

National’s position is that being nice to people who threaten free speech is more important than defending freedom itself. The Greens have said it’s my fault that a few nutcases are threatening an MP. The Commonwealth Women Parliamentarians wrote, asking me to apologise for my comment. I should have known it was not a sincere gesture because the letter was duly released to the media who happily published it with barely a response from me. Other women MPs told me they’d known nothing about it. Surprisingly, Trevor Mallard went on TV and said I was a bully. The Speaker is supposed to be Parliament’s neutral referee.

A number of journalists have attacked me. The media should be the loudest cheerleaders for freedom of expression. Their job relies on freedom of expression, and freedom and democracy rely on the media doing their job.

Were it not for ACT, Parliament would be sleepwalking towards tighter speech laws. The media wouldn’t bat an eyelid. Only a few brave academics might raise their heads above the parapet.

There is something not right about this situation. If my comment endangered Ghahraman, then the response of media and politicians has multiplied its airplay exponentially. That response has been driven by the very people accusing me of endangering Ghahraman.

Because I do not think anyone should be endangered for engaging in political debate, I am reluctant to respond any further, but it’s difficult when the very people who say they’re concerned are using the situation to attack me politically. After all, the media cited a ‘source,’ then Ghahraman herself, when reporting the new security arrangements and attributing them to me.

My detractors believe that expressing a genuinely held view on an important issue makes me responsible for threats of violence. They are wrong. My comments do not come close to giving me such responsibility. And the current law is easily on my side.

This belief absolves the real perpetrators – those making the threats – of responsibility. It also introduces the worrying implication that some MPs are unable to fully participate or be criticised because there are violent threats. It’s a belief that allows violent thugs to set the agenda.

The response to my comment proves we cannot trust government to enforce hate speech laws. Imagine if the state had even greater powers to punish speech at its disposal. Some state agency would now be using that power to investigate and punish a sitting MP’s genuinely-held views.

Hate speech laws turn debate into a popularity contest where the winners get to silence views they don’t like by using the power of the state. Tighter restrictions on speech can only mean giving some agency the power to punish people for saying things that do not incite harm but are merely offensive or distasteful. In other words, what you can think is determined by what is popular.

ACT will continue to defend the critical principle that nobody should ever be punished by the power of the state on the basis of opinion.
If you agree, please consider supporting us.
ACT New Zealand · 27 Gillies Ave, Suite 2.5, Auckland 1021, New Zealand
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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 is all about statements last published on this site about 5 years ago.

Mr A.P. (Tony) Johnson, CEO of the LVVTA

This is for alleged defamation for material that has not been visible on this website for four years or more.

The material started as constructive comment from a group of LVV Certifiers (now all forced out) on how the Low Volume Vehicle Certification system needed to improve.

The NZTA conducted major changes to the LVV system since that time, as a result of complaints, and further investigation is likely under the current overhaul of the NZTA regulatory functions.

It can be seen on the Incorporated Societies web site how much this is costing the LVVTA. More costs are yet to show from the Court of Appeal, and from this forthcoming case, if it goes ahead. All of this will be paid for by anyone needing a LVV Certification.

Not sure exactly what the LVVTA hopes to gain from proving Defamation against me (even if they succeed).

We have made an offer to LVVTA to end this now- and no response

We have had the first pre-trial conference with Palmer J- its all going well- so look forward to yet another win. (I really must find another retirement hobby)

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 us at if you find you cannot get through.

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 Judges will hear this appeal.

LVVTA appealed the Judgement of Palmer J that Mr Brett is NOT guilty of defamation of the LVVTA

Mr Brett cross-appealed the Judgement of Palmer J that he IS guilty of defamation of Mr Johnson.
Mr Brett is represented by Mr Peter McKnight

No new evidence is normally permitted in Appeal Court hearings.

The Court is open to all observers.

NEWS 26th March 2019 Decision now released. The Plaintiffs (The LVVTA) have been directed back to the High Court for a second attempt to prove their case. Judgement Decision

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 was unavailable, being in Intensive care in hospital in Australia, so his Affidavit was taken as read.

20th November 2017 Judgement now delivered- criticism of the LVVTA is protected by Qualified Privilege under the Bill of Rights. Criticism of Mr Johnson is NOT protected, as he is seen as a volunteer simply acting on the instruction of the LVVTA, and I am therefore liable for defamation of Mr Johnson

John Brett

Full Judgement here: CIV2015-404-1925 20-11-17 JUDG

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

NZ Legislation- Bill of Rights

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 which provides a summary of the key feedback received and our response to that feedback, and an update on what’s happening next.

We also invited comment on a second proposal that would provide an alternative way for approved commercial modifiers to achieve LVV certification for series production-based vehicle modifications. We’re in the process of collating and responding to the feedback we received on that topic, in parallel with running a pilot of the proposed process, and will provide an update on that activity within the next few weeks.
You’ve received this email because you previously indicated that you wanted to be kept informed of progress on the LVV Review, and/or because you made a submission on a discussion document relating to the processes mentioned above. Please let us know by return email if you’d like to be removed from this mailing list:
NZ Transport Agency
National Office / Victoria Arcade, 50 Victoria Street,
Private Bag 6995, Wellington 6141, New Zealand

Here is a link to the PDF containing the full details

Here’s one of the first examples of imported modified vehicles (built in France, Certified to E standards) which should be arriving in NZ very soon.

French Built U-Drive Skoda Yeti mobility vehicle, Certified to E

French Built U-Drive Skoda Yeti mobility vehicle, Certified to E