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craig pomare 6

February Update

In this edition of the Chief Executive's Comment, Craig Pomare discusses the NZTA WoF investigations, vehicle safety, a retail fuel market study, business continuity planning, and an MTA member who recently received the Queen's Service Medal.

Chief Executive's Comment

NZ Transport Agency WoF investigations

We are working closely with the NZ Transport Agency as they continue to review and investigate non-compliant WoF inspectors and inspecting organisations. This work is led by Meredith Connell Managing Partner Steve Haszard. The Chair of the NZTA Board, Michael Stiassny and Steve Haszard attended our December MTA Board meeting. We had a lengthy and constructive discussion and MTA staff continued the conversation in January, about what role MTA can play in a regime that will clearly be more rigorous.

MTA and its members have always been committed to vehicle safety, our code of ethics and professional service and standards. Over the decades MTA has led and promoted the development of our sector’s technical skills and this will continue. We will also continue to regularly review all members to ensure they meet MTA standards. This work will be prioritised over the coming year.

We have also always led, promoted, and provided ongoing professional development within our sector and within our membership. MTA intends to take a stronger lead in this area as we play our part to regain public confidence in the WoF system and in the people who repair and service the country’s vehicles. We have assured NZ Transport Agency of our commitment to the sector, and to providing input on their work to reshape NZTA’s activities and function

Safety first and always

Part of our ongoing commitment to vehicle safety is reflected in the information and advice we are providing on the government’s new draft policy on road safety. As you will see on p32 we have been part of a reference group looking specifically at the issue. We are particularly vocal about the need for the VIRM to include inspection of the modern safety features commonly found in so many of today’s cars, such as ESC and ABS.

Retail fuel market study

We are in the early stages of talking with the Commerce Commission, and others in our sector, as work begins to set up the fuel market study. The terms of reference have been released as have draft guidelines for carrying out market studies. We have already met with the Commerce Commission team working on the study and will continue to engage with them to ensure the views of the sector are represented.

We fully support the study but are making sure those involved do not lose sight of the fact that small independent fuel retailers have little influence on the price they buy and sell at. We will be doing all we can to protect our members and their interests.

Being prepared

I think the Christchurch and Kaikoura earthquakes have given many businesses the evidence they needed about how important it is to have a business continuity plan. I can remember seeing business owners standing at the Christchurch cordons, wondering how they were going to retrieve the vital records they needed.

Here at MTA we have made sure our software and systems are now cloud-based and we have made arrangements for a back-up office in Hamilton that can be brought online if Wellington is badly affected by a disaster. Our planning has included moving the bulk of our stationery and other stock to Hamilton, with just a small portion kept on hand in Wellington.

I urge any member who has not already done so to prepare a plan for their business should disaster strike. How would you contact customers and suppliers? Where is the information relevant to an insurance claim kept? If it is all on a hard drive on your premises, you could be in real trouble. If you need help with starting a plan, there is lots of information at www.business.govt.nz (MBIE’s website). You can also contact MTA for ideas.

Queen’s Service Medal

Congratulations to long-time Whanganui MTA member Dick Mitchell, who was awarded the Queen’s Service Medal for services to community and music in the New Year Honours list.

Dick owned Guthrie’s Motors (later Guthrie’s Auto Care) and was Whanganui branch vice president and president from 1991 to 1997. He was also on its executive committee from 1997 through to his retirement in 2003.

Dick was recognised for his decades of service to the local men’s choir, Rotary and the tramping club, and Dick is clearly a living example of giving back to the community you live and work within.