Continued failure to address safety concerns identified in two audits has seen trucks operating for a major Northland logging truck company ordered off the road.
From midnight on Friday, 75 trucks operating under Stan Semenoff Logging will be parked up. It's believed about 85 staff will also be directly affected.
The company plans to appeal the ruling, saying there has never been any serious safety concerns at the firm.
Two audits by NZ Transport Agency revealed concerns relating to driver fatigue and behaviour, and include, breaches of work time and rest time rules, pervasive logbook issues and the accumulation of 116 speed and traffic-related offences over a four-year period.
The agency has revoked the Whangārei-based company's Transport Service Licence (TSL) due to a continuing failure to address safety concerns.
The company is run by former Whangārei mayor Stan Semenoff, who served four terms, and his son Alexander, according to the Companies Office register.
In a written statement Semenoff said yesterday he was in the process of lodging an appeal in the district court.
The company did not consider NZTA had good grounds for its decision to revoke their Transport Service Licence.
"Stan Semenoff Logging strongly rejects the comments made by NZTA, and strongly disagrees that there has ever been any serious safety concerns at Stan Semenoff Logging to justify this decision," Semenoff said.
Over the course of three years the Agency carried out two audits and had strongly encouraged Stan Semenoff Logging to lift its safety standards, NZTA said.
Unfortunately the Agency considered the company had not complied and the only action left was to revoke the company's Transport Service Licence, which the company was notified of last Friday.
Regulatory lead and Meredith Connell managing partner Steve Haszard said the first audit in 2016 uncovered a substantial number of issues.
As 96 per cent of all heavy vehicle crashes were due to driver error it was concerning the audit revealed long driving hours and speeding drivers.
Haszard said when a second audit was carried out in 2017 the same problems around safety still existed.
"The Transport Agency has given Stan Semenoff Logging every opportunity to provide evidence of improvement, but over the course of two audits and three years we have seen that this company is either unwilling or unable to comply with the necessary transport operator safety standards," Haszard said.
In August 2018 the Agency issued a "notice of proposal" — effectively a final warning — to Stan Semenoff Logging indicating what would happen if the company could not demonstrate they had reached safety standards required.
"The revocation is a safety decision, plain and simple. It's not just about the safety of Mr Semenoff's drivers, it's about the safety of all Northland's other road users. It was ultimately up to Stan Semenoff Logging to avoid this situation by demonstrating safety improvement. We were given many assurances from his company that standards would be lifted, but in the end, they weren't," Haszard said.
"As with every revocation we enforce, we know this will have an impact on those people employed by the company, and that is why we have made every effort to extensively engage with Mr Semenoff to avoid getting to this point."
David Aitken, chief executive officer of the National Road Carriers Association, said the transport industry needed to be safe and compliant.
He said the disappointing part of the equation was the drivers and their families would now be with out an income.
"But at the end of the day it's about safety and we want operators to be compliant."
The revocation will take effect on Friday.