$300,000 or more down the drain? A cost analysis of two worthless CAA prosecutions
Two prosecutions, in both of which the CAA failed to achieve its aim of having pilots criminally convicted, cost hundreds of thousands of other people’s dollars, we can reveal.
In pursuing these cases for more than two years, the CAA incurred very considerable legal costs that were entirely unproductive. It may well have squandered more than $300,000 for nothing more than giving the RIU and the lawyers a great deal of wholly wasteful “work”.
Adopting a Just Culture process based on education and mentoring could have avoided all that personal pain, as well as a very significant private and public waste of money.
And who ultimately pays for this appalling folly? Take a guess…
There appears to be no accountability within the CAA for running up costs such as these – and then, to add further insult, every three years the authority brazenly seeks further increases in fees, levies and charges from the GA community.
Two years of private grief, more disgrace for the CAA, massive expense - for what? Nothing.
The case has finally closed on an episode that brought two years of misery to a pilot and piled more shame on a misguided Civil Aviation Authority.
In pursuing the pilot, the CAA generated (and wasted) considerable legal costs. It inflicted serious damage on the pilot (grossly excessive in relation to the alleged offending). The entire process was vindictive and counter-productive to what the CAA professes to stand for.
The quality of mercy is not strained;
It droppeth as the gentle rain from heaven
Upon the place beneath. It is twice blest;
A District Court Judge and a High Court Judge twice showed mercy.
Absolutely no mercy was shown by the Director and his Legal Section.
Another whistleblower points to the inevitable: An investigation of the CAA
In his latest TV3 Newshub coverage of the CAA, reporter Michael Morrah exposes problems within Aviation Security Services, where team leaders are accused of allowing people to board flights with illegal items.
It is alleged that bullying, harassment and ineffectual leadership is endemic within the lofty floors of the Asteron Centre, which is expensively occupied by the CAA and its subordinate, Aviation Security (Avsec).
It is now abundantly clear that a root-and-branch investigation of the authority (and possibly TAIC and even, ultimately, the MoT) followed by decisive remedial action, is inevitable.
The MoT ‘issues’ hotline: An offer you might prefer to refuse
Some cautionary words about the Ministry of Transport’s “issues” hotline, claimed as a way for people to provide feedback on the performance and culture of the regulators it oversees:
Don’t bank on anonymity.
The GAA tried to obtain undertakings from the MoT about the safeguards which should be in place to protect informants’ identities, if they wished to comment on the CAA.
We’ve established that the ministry cannot promise to keep your identity secret.
Safety management is a clear and present danger. Why? And who can we blame?
Safety is becoming dangerous, because ‘system failure’ is an easy place to find faults which raise blame-pointing fingers. They frequently point at those who are trying to prevent accidents. It may evict those who strive for safety, and replace them with more regulations.
When what caused an air accident can’t be truly established, there is always that compulsion to blame it on someone. Draw a line somewhere in the ashes, and move on… inevitably, to the next tragedy.
The Fox Glacier accident is no exception. Employing ‘system failure’, investigators spread the blame on the owner-operator, company management, the pilot and the regulator. It’s unfair and counter-productive.
It is time for GA and the CAA to stop talking about working together and start doing it. Repetitive CAA claims that “we are no longer failing” no longer cut it. We need proof of positive actions and accountability. To date, we have witnessed unwise actions, horrendous cost increases, over-reliance on regulations – and little accountability.
The CAA is seriously ill – but how can we tell the relatives?
If only we could ask The Average Kiwi to briefly pause and imagine what life would be like if, quite suddenly, all forms of general aviation disappeared. Everything, that is, below commercial airlines.
If you could snap your fingers and make it happen, people on the street would realise what quietly and reliably had been going on all around them. Flying in New Zealand has been driven by private individuals, expanding and developing, day in and day out, for decades. It’s had a dramatic effect on all our lives (and New Zealand’s economy) and it’s nowhere near done yet.
They’d miss it terribly. Life without GA would be nothing less than catastrophic. In some cases, it makes the difference between life and death.
Telling them about this is a major challenge. Here’s why…
Hats off to the CAA whistleblower
TV3’s Newhub has tried to lift the lid on CAA culture, with a report featuring a whistleblower who still works in the Authority. We are summarising what reporter Michael Morrah claims to have discovered. What we have seen will come as no surprise to members of the aviation fraternity in New Zealand.
What is surprising is that, after so many years, someone working in the CAA had the guts to stand up and say “Enough is enough” and reject the false statements issued by CAA’s top management and transport ministers from Gerry Brownlee, through Simon Bridges and to Phil Twyford today, all of whom have denied that the CAA has systemic problems that either cost too much for customers or might actually jeopardise aviation safety.
Graeme Harris and his ultimate bosses have always been in denial. To them, there is no problem that is not being addressed. We beg to differ.