Reputation ruined

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The NZTA-revoked Donald Stewart McLean's vehicle inspecting authority and business – The WOF Man Ltd. Photo: Giordano Stolley

AN Invercargill vehicle tester, who lost his authority to issue warrants of fitness after complaints about the quality of his work, says the decision was based on a mere three complaints over 15 years.

Earlier this month Donald Stewart McLean’s Grasmere business The WOF Man Ltd was shut down by the NZ Transport Agency, who cited his failure to properly inspect brakes, exhaust systems and corrosion repairs as the reason for revoking his authority.

“What annoys me the most about this is the fact that they say I have a history of complaints of vehicles that didn’t comply. The real facts are that over 15 years they were talking about there were three, all of which were disputed.”

He said one complaint involved a worn brake rotor, the second stemmed from a car which had been altered after he had inspected it and the third about rust which “three inspecting organisations had missed”.

“That is my history of complaints and not following procedures in 15 years. In all honesty does that compare with what they have said about me to ruin my reputation? Three unfounded complaints in 15 years.”

Mr McLean said he would not fight the NZTA decision because a small business could not survive the appeal process.

“Even if you did win the appeal, they have destroyed your reputation. Therefore it’s pointless anyway.”

Mr McLean said he believes his problems started when he reported fraud which occurred at his business while he was in hospital last May. He discovered the tester who had covered for him had entered two fraudulent warrants into the system.

“As soon as I came out of hospital I reported this to NZTA. My problems started when I was a whistle blower to a man who committed fraud on my premises and I can prove it.”

He said he had more than enough evidence to prove the fraud and proof which he had reported to NZTA.

He wanted the NZTA to retract the comments made to the media about him, which he labelled defamatory and had caused reputational damage.

NZTA regulatory lead Steve Haszard said he could not reveal many details as he was “really conscious” Mr McLean had a right of appeal.

While again not specifying how many, he said there had been ongoing compliance breaches since 2012.

“It is a mischaracterisation to only look at the number of complaints,” he said.

In its initial press release NZTA also did not state how many complaints had been made against Mr McLean.

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