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Transport briefing paper outlines problems

Transport briefing paper outlines problems

The Transport Accident Investigation Commission's briefing to the Transport Minister is a bold document clearly outlining the problems faced when governments both own a business and are responsible for the safety regulations governing the industry, ACT Transport Spokesman Deborah Coddington said today.

"The independent transport safety authority has blatantly told the Minister that he has a conflict of interest because of the Government's stake in Air New Zealand. The commission pleads for independence from the Ministry, and the right to report to the entire parliament rather than the Minister's officials.

"The commission has stuck its neck out from the very first sentence of its briefing paper. TAIC states: "Reporting in plain language helps prevent accidents". If the Minister does not pay heed to this unambiguous advice, he will be setting this Government up for huge liability if an Air New Zealand aircraft is involved in an accident.

"This paper also provides a clear warning to the Government that it must dump its unsound plan to control air and rail transport.

"The commission highlights the fact that an October 2001 review by the Transport and Industrial Relations Select Committee advised that TAIC should have more "operational and financial independence". However, the briefing papers state that "subsequent communications from the Ministry advocate additional controls over the Commission. The Ministry faces an impossible task of setting its own and transport regulatory interests aside when dealing with TAIC."

"The clear message for the Government is that it must set TAIC free, and get rid of its interest in Air New Zealand. The safety of New Zealand air travellers depends on it," Miss Coddington said.

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