LVVTA


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LVVTA’s 25th anniversary

The Low Volume Vehicle Technical Association (LVVTA) celebrated its 25th Anniversary on Friday night. Only five months after the LVVTA processed its 150,000th modified vehicle certification.

The LVVTA certifies modified vehicles where construction may hinder their compliance with vehicle standards. It has a formal relationship with the NZTA, whereby the partnership governs and maintains the low-volume vehicle (LVV) code.

However, the LVV code was put under dispute last week after a former LVVTA certifier, John Brett, was taken to court by the LVVTA as he used his personal website to unfairly criticise the LVVTA and chief executive, Tony Johnson. 

The High Court of New Zealand ordered the former vehicle certifier to pay $100,000 in damages due to the defamation. 

The anniversary was a chance to accurately demonstrate the achievements of the LVV certification system and the long-standing members of the LVVTA’s Technical Advisory Committee in light of the above.

The honoured members are the backbone of the system and are responsible for providing the technical content for the NZ Car Construction Manual and assessing potential design proposals.

Bespoke long-service plaques were presented to member who have volunteered their expertise and vast experience. The twenty year award recipients were Graham Walls, John Hinton, Terry Bowden, Chris Litherland and Tony Johnson. Ten-year recipients were John Reid, Alan Smail, Walter Wing, John Ward, Paul Sattler, Geoff Cottle, Kerry Buchanan, Mark Stokes, Justin Hansen and Peter Vahry, some of whom are not far off reaching the 20-year milestone.

LVVTA also recognised people who have made a significant contribution to the LVVTA and the LVV certification system. The Honourees for 2017 were Jim McDonald from the New Zealand Transport Agency and Graeme Banks from the Sports Car Club of New Zealand.

LVVTA CEO Tony Johnson paid special tribute to the LVVTA staff members for their passion, commitment, and resilience, and amongst the long-serving staff members, Linda Washington was recognised for her 20 years of service to LVVTA by LVVTA President Steve Keys.

Brian Sara from the New Zealand Transport Agency wrapped up the evening with an interesting perspective on the special and unique relationship that exists between LVVTA and the Agency, and spoke positively about the future of the LVVTA and the LVV certification system in New Zealand.

For more information on LVVTA or the Technical Advisory Committee visit www.lvvta.org.nz.

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Association boss wins libel case

Brett used his personal website and social media to criticise the LVVTA and its chief executive, Anthony Johnson.

The High Court of New Zealand has ordered former vehicle certifier, John Brett, to pay $100,000 in damages after defaming his boss and an industry association.

Brett used his personal website and social media to criticise the Low-Volume Vehicle Technical Association (LVVTA) and its chief executive, Anthony Johnson.

The LVVTA certifies modified vehicles where construction may hinder their compliance with vehicle standards. It has a formal relationship with the NZTA, whereby the partnership governs and maintains the low-volume vehicle (LVV) code.

Johnson’s evidence demonstrates that Brett was “unwilling to apply the specified requirements”, and the relationship with the LVVTA was “long and challenging”.

The judgement also noted how Brett, on two occasions, was ranked the worst LVV certifier in respect of his technical, administrative and procedural errors. The second was during the following year where he was again ranked worst in terms of technical errors, but third worst in terms of administrative and procedural errors.

Brett made 32 times more safety-related technical errors than the average of all the other LVV certifiers.

Johnson gave evidence regarding the efforts made by the association and NZTA to support Brett.

However, Brett argued that, in some cases, the new LVV code was dangerous, leading to potentially unsafe outcomes. He stated a group of Auckland certifiers wrote a formal proposal to the LVVTA and NZTA, addressing issues that needed to be discussed. 

His authority to certify low-volume vehicles was revoked by the NZTA in 2012 due to being deemed “not a fit and proper person to be a LVV certifier”.

Brett was an authorised certifier from April 1999 to December 2012.

Since then Brett maintained a website containing “a steady stream of criticism of the competence and integrity” of the LVVTA and Johnson. Brett removed objectionable statements, but in 2014 he published further statements on his website and his Facebook page, alleging “general and particularised incompetence on the part of the LVVTA leading to deaths and injuries.”

Brett and the LVVTA entered into a settlement agreement, whereby the LVVTA agreed not to sue Brett for defamation in return for Brett removing material from his website and not posting more. Johnson’s evidence was that Brett didn’t comply.

A permanent injunction was sought, plus damages of $250,000 for defamation and legal costs for breach of contract.

The remedies granted by Justice Palmer were a damages award of $100,000 against Brett to Johnson, along with a permanent injunction “given proclivity to repeatedly defame the plaintiffs”.

Click here to read the full judgement.

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