22 Dec 2018

Suspended vehicle inspector defends his work

7:36 am on 22 December 2018

A vehicle inspector who has been suspended by the New Zealand Transport Agency for using the wrong testing standards insists he has done nothing wrong.

Patrick Chu.

Patrick Chu has been suspended by the Transport Agency which said he was using the wrong assessment standard when he checked vehicles, which meant tow bars were incorrectly certified as safe. Photo: Supplied.

More than 1400 vehicles with tow bars inspected by Patrick Chu have had their safety certifications revoked, because the Transport Agency said they were incorrectly certified as safe.

The Transport Agency said Mr Chu was using the wrong assessment standard when he checked the vehicles, which meant the tow bars were incorrectly certified as safe.

The affected vehicles included trucks, motorhomes and vans, and the agency said there was a risk that trailers could detach from the vehicles.

However, Mr Chu said his work was safe, and done to the correct standard.

"I did [the] right calculation. All the NZTA experts are wrong," he said.

"If I did the wrong [assessment] all the vehicles with tow bars should be put off the road."

Patrick Chu said he had not been informed how to lodge an appeal of his suspension, and his reputation had been destroyed.

"I'm a human being," he said.

"Nobody can say, 'Oh, I've done the job over 12 years, [and] every job is 100 percent right'.

"But the tow bar is calculation is right. I did it exactly."

Meanwhile, the Road Transport Forum backed the Transport Agency's decision to revoke the certifications.

Road Transport Forum chief executive Nick Leggett said while it was the right decision, it would be very difficult to get re-certified before Christmas, affecting business.

"It is a busy time of the year, there's not denying that, this is a time when consumption and purchases are on the increase, so we'll be keeping an eye out in terms of the industry and hear what their experiences are," he said.

Mr Leggett said the forum had already heard from people in the food distribution industry, but they will offer advice to anyone who was concerned.

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