Wellington Scoop

NZTA chairman resigns, says focus is now on public safety

News from NZTA
New Zealand Transport Agency chairman Michael Stiassny today announced his resignation from the Board, saying that he has completed what he set out to do – repositioning the agency to focus on public safety.

“The Board-instigated regulatory compliance review is now complete, more than 300 regulatory compliance enforcement actions have been taken and the recommendations of the independent inquiry report by Kristy McDonald QC are almost fully implemented. And, General Managers have been appointed for two new key functions: Regulatory and Safety, Health and Environment.

“These are the cornerstones of a new approach by the Transport Agency, the results of which will continue to play out in the months and years to come. The time is now right for a new Chair and new permanent CEO with the skills required to guide the necessary culture change within the Agency to ensure public safety is at the heart of its function,” Mr Stiassny said.

Minister of Transport Phil Twyford acknowledged and thanked Mr Stiassny for his exceptional service.

“Michael has worked tirelessly to not only uncover, but to resolve issues, particularly in relation to systemic failure within the Transport Agency. As a result of his leadership over the past year, New Zealanders can have confidence that the Transport Agency is fully focused on ensuring public safety on our roads,” Mr Twyford said.

Report from RNZ
A massive clear out of top NZTA management occurred under the watch of chairperson Michael Stiassny, who is quitting early, says Transport Forum head Nick Leggett.

Mr Stiassny was brought in to shake up the New Zealand Transport Agency after major failings, but has quit one year into his three-year contract. Mr Leggett said Mr Stiassny was “clearly brought in to disrupt”.

“We always felt there would then be a transition to someone who could bring the agency and the pieces back together, to a new normal if you like,” Mr Leggett said. Huge risks remained, he said. “I would certainly say the road transport industry is nervous, we’re incredibly nervous about where things are at. But we would certainly see this as a step towards progress of getting things back on an even keel.”

Mr Leggett said he was “optimistic” that NZTA was now focused on safety as its primary responsibility.

Mr Stiassny’s resignation comes six months after revelations NZTA had not been properly checking up on companies which certify vehicle safety and give out licences. He oversaw a review, which led to 300 enforcement actions and the recall of more than 45,000 vehicles, which may have been wrongly issued warrants of fitness.


  1. Greater Auckland, 26. April 2019, 16:25

    Good news Friday. The NZTA chair has resigned. Now can we get on with light rail and all the other important projects please. [via twitter]

  2. greenwelly, 26. April 2019, 16:53

    But NZTA aren’t in charge of the big decisions on Light rail in Auckland, it’s being run from Treasury and the Ministry of Transport…In fact the NZTA board wrote to Minister Twyford in December to ask for confirmation on what their role actually was.

  3. Stuart Beeker, 27. April 2019, 9:02

    Surely AT should be relooking at the trackless tram! They must be mad to want to dig up Dominion Rd and put in layers of concrete to get people to the airport slower than the current airport bus! They sent a delegation of engineers to China 2 years ago who came back with a positive recommendation, only for the politicians to bury their report. Since then the technology has improved leaps and bounds so that even diehard rail man Prof Peter Newman from Curtin Uni has seen the light and is recommending the trackless tram instead of light rail. We have to move with the times! Steel tracks and overhead wiring are so very last century.

  4. Bernard C, 27. April 2019, 10:29

    I can see a loss of focus on roles in many Govt organizations. The NZ Transport Agency was formed for an affordable, integrated, responsive and sustainable land transport system. It was not designed for the business focus of public safety that is more MOBIE. Just sounds like bureaucracy.