A group of pilots and others in aviation have taken aim at the Civil Aviation Authority outlining a string of grievances and identifying a series of faults.
The group, which calls itself the General Aviation Advocacy network and claims to represent 2000 in the industry, says the authority is failing and trust is at an "all-time low."
However, the authority has hit back at the claims, saying there is much in the documents sent by the network that is unbalanced, misleading, incomplete or simply wrong.
The network says it wants a public inquiry in the CAA, saying a survey reveals "serious unrest and distrust" of it among its members.
A spokesman, Brian Mackie, said the group said there had been lapses of integrity at senior levels.
He claims the authority does not offer value for money.
"Severe increases in CAA charges between 2012 and 2017 were not matched by service or efficiency improvements, and have harmed the general aviation industry."
Regulations are being misunderstood or misinterpreted by CAA staff, resulting in unlawful or irregular demands and unjustified charges.
"Many are worried about CAA policies that threaten general aviation related businesses and may damage the future of the next generation of amateur and professional aviators," said Mackie.
"The GAA aims to encourage constructive dialogue among everyone involved in our nation's aviation – including bureaucrats, politicians and established aviation organisations."
The online survey has been questioned by the authority which concedes it "doesn't get it right all the time," and there were concerns shared more widely.
"We will continue to work with the sector to address those concerns," said the authority's deputy chief executive, John Kay.
Many of the issues raised by the network were historic or had been dealt with in detail, he said.
As the safety regulator, the CAA will sometimes come into conflict with those it regulates; that is both unavoidable and, at times, necessary.
"We act in the interests of the wider New Zealand public, which does not always accord exactly with the interests of individuals within the aviation sector, or even parts of the sector," he said.
"We make no apology for the hard decisions we take, which are always made in good faith, following a robust process, and based on the evidence available to us," said Kay.
The main industry body, Aviation New Zealand, said it had not seen the research done by the network. While aware of the issues raised, the authority had taken on board some of its concerns raised recently.
"There will always be some tensions between the regulator and the regulated but with CAA we need a positive tension," said Aviation NZ chief executive John Nicholson.
He said the authority could communicate the context around some of its decisions more clearly.
"There needs to be more proactive communication with industry. This has been passed to CAA."
The GAA says it is a voluntary social network for people involved in general aviation and has no constitution, no formal membership and no fees.
The New Zealand Air Line Pilots' Association (NZALPA), the country's largest aviation union representing both pilots and air traffic controllers, said today that it was actively engaged with the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) on a number of issues affecting the General Aviation industry.
This included those increasing numbers of NZALPA members involved in flying both helicopters and for smaller fixed-wing operators.
Commenting on recent criticism of the regulator by a general aviation advocacy group, NZALPA President Tim Robinson said that the CAA does face significant challenges.
"However, under the new Labour-led coalition government, we are seeing increasing levels of engagement from the CAA, which is welcome and pleasing," said Robinson.
"This includes looking at strengthening current CAA rules and regulations, and upcoming amendments to the Civil Aviation Act.
Robinson said that NZALPA had only just received the 97-page report through the media and noted that it covers a number of issues – including some that have not been raised by its members.
"We'll read the report with interest but we must be clear that the industry is working together to address a number of the issues raised.
"NZALPA also met before Easter with the Minister of Transport to discuss those affecting its membership and will continue to do so.
"Together – that's employers, workers, advocates and regulators – need to continue to increase engagement in this rapidly moving and technologically changing industry so that the welfare and safety of our people and that of the travelling public, is the top priority," Robinson said.