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Engineer penalised for signing off on Auckland tuk-tuk safety despite having never viewed them

A complaint against an engineer who certified a number of tuk-tuks for use in Auckland and Wellington has been upheld by Engineering New Zealand (ENZ).

Tuk-tuk file image. Source: istock.com

The organisation states that Dick Joyce signed inspection certificates for seven tuk-tuks (four in Wellington and three in Auckland) in September 2016.

ENZ says that following the sign offs, one of the Wellington tuk-tuks was involved in a serious rollover crash.

The damage suffered by the tuk-tuk raised questions about its design and certification, according to ENZ.

An investigation by the NZ Transport Agency then found Mr Joyce had failed to view the Auckland tuk-tuks before signing their certifications.

ENZ's disciplinary committee was called on to look into the matter and determined that the structural strength of the tuk-tuks was insufficient to provide reasonable protection for their occupants. 

“The certification of vehicles for passenger service is a safety-critical task, and members of the public rightly rely on regulators such as NZTA to protect them from harm. Regulators, in turn, rely upon experts including professional engineers to carry out their role competently,” the Disciplinary Committee said in its decision.

“Mr Joyce has departed from what could be expected of a reasonable engineer, and this departure is serious.”

Mr Joyce is currently suspended from his ENZ membership due to a previously upheld complaint and this will be extended for another three years from February due to the newly upheld complaint.

He will also be ordered to pay $15,000 towards the costs incurred by Engineering New Zealand in investigating his conduct.