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Taumaranui Coroner Damning Of Govt Agencies

Taumaranui Coroner Damning Of Govt Agencies

Friday 26 March 2004 - Rodney Hide

ACT New Zealand Finance Spokesman Rodney Hide today said that Coroner Timothy Scott's decision on the death of three men in the helicopter crash that occurred in Taumarunui on 4 June 2001 was a damning indictment of the Government agencies charged with air safety and accident investigation in New Zealand.

"The Coroner, with totally inadequate resources, has done a good job exposing the deficiencies of the Civil Aviation Authority's safety procedures, the Transport Accident Investigation Commission's investigatory abilities and the legislation governing these investigations," Mr Hide said.

"It's a big wake up call for fundamental change in how air safety is administered and how accidents should be investigated. The Coroner is to be congratulated for the job he has done.

"The Coroner did not accept TAIC's version of the cause of the accident. The investigation of the accident was so deficient that he recommends that it be redone:

`The whole aspect is unsatisfactory and it is my recommendation after very careful consideration that CAA and/or TAIC should reinvestigate this incident as far as resources permit'.

"The Coroner is very harsh on Civil Aviation Authority Director John Jones's trivialising of CAA's requirement for a daily maintenance inspection programme:

`It is difficult to understand how CAA could have approved the plan when it must have known (or ought to have known) that Wanganui Aero Works had no capacity to comply with it. As the Regulatory Authority it must have had a clear idea of the capacity of the Wanganui Aero Works to comply. CAA in effect took the attitude that (its own) rule was not vital and did not need to be complied with strictly. If a rule is to be trivialised then why have the rule. There is no need for "rubber stamps". There does not seem to be anything particularly "trivial" about a daily maintenance inspection programme (for aircraft). I have difficulty in following the logic of the CAA position that it somehow did not matter that it was not complied with'.

"The Coroner's findings are a shocking indictment of CAA and TAIC. The Government's excuse making has gone on for too long - it's time for Ministers to act," Mr Hide said.

ENDS


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