Worker alleges her boss remotely turned off work vehicle during Marlborough journey leaving her in dangerous situation

A worker driving a company van in Marlborough says her boss remotely turned off her vehicle while she was going through a roundabout, leaving her stuck in the traffic.

The woman said she was almost hit by a truck and had to then push the van to a nearby petrol station.

Vehicles can be turned off remotely via a GPS tracker immobiliser - but neither the Police, Transport Agency, Ministry of Transport nor WorkSafe have regulations or policy on its use.

A Blenheim vineyard employee, who has asked not to be identified for fear of losing her job, said she stopped at a petrol station to buy a drink while taking workers to the site one morning last week.

As she pulled out and entered a busy roundabout about 50 metres down the road, the engine went dead.

"I'm halfway through the intersection and all of a sudden my van is immobilised with workers inside and a semi-trailer is coming at me through the roundabout."

She said she had absolutely no control.

"All I could do was just try and wave my hands out the window. I couldn't put it up or down or start my keys.

"I had to get everyone out of the van, push me back into the petrol station where I rang my boss and asked him, 'What the hell just happened?' "

Her boss was concerned she was not following the exact route to the vineyard, and told her he believed she was parked when he turned off the engine.

But she said immobilising the van was unnecessary and she felt "highly compromised".

"This is really dangerous. Maybe try and ring two or three times before you just turn someone off. It's just crazy."

She was afraid to take the matter further as she needed to keep her job, but since heard from colleagues it happened to them.

Julian Dunster has owned and operated the company Obsessive Vehicle Security for the last 10 years.

He said a GPS tracker could have an immobiliser fitted to the starter motor, the fuel pump or the ignition.

But, he would not connect a tracker to the ignition or fuel pump.

"I have been asked by clients, and I refuse to. I'm happy to cut the starter motor and prevent the vehicle from restarting but I refuse to do anything that's going to bring it to a halt while moving."

Mr Dunster said connecting an immobiliser was not hard to do.

"There's no regulations in the industry. There's very little training so it would probably be quite easy to find someone who will say yes and take your cash."

It was concerning there was no legislation around fitting immobilisers and it was difficult to know who would be at fault if an immobilised vehicle caused an accident, he said.

"Until it happens and someone probably dies I don't think it's going to be put through legislation and it's silly."

Lawyer Steve Bonnar QC said there was no precedent for an immobilised vehicle causing an accident.

"In principle, if someone remotely disabled a vehicle and as a result of that action caused injury or damage to property and it wasn't the fault of the driver then I think there's potential liability on the part of the person who disabled it."

The primary purpose of a GPS immobiliser is to prevent stolen vehicles from travelling too far.

Police would not comment on the use of immobilisers.

And the Ministry of Transport said it had no plans to introduce legislation but would consider doing so if the misuse of immobilisers became common.

WorkSafe said the use of immobilisers should be managed appropriately.

By Emma Hatton

rnz.co.nz

Source: Supplied



Wellington bus network changes to be reviewed after council bombarded with complaints

Wellington's new bus network will be independently reviewed after ongoing complaints of buses being late, too full to board or not showing up at all.

The regional council today voted today to have the system reviewed and the results reported back by December.

Since the system was changed in July the council has been bombarded with complaints.

Councillors have also asked officers to change a route so that it began and ended in Kilbirnie, as it previously did, and for feedback on whether some other routes can be changed.

Regional council chief executive Greg Campbell said he took full responsibility for fixing the network's problems.

He said the review needed to be done quickly.

"Any commuter that is left stranded, or a bus that is late, that is of extreme concern. We have to get a clear view of what is happening. What an independent review can really do - particularly for management and council - is give a view of what has happened and articulate that well."

At the beginning of the meeting several Wellington residents addressed the council to let it know they were still unhappy with the new bus routes.

A Wellington principal said the recent re-jig of the routes was making his students late for class and putting them in danger.

St Patrick's College, Kilbirnie's rector Neal Swindells told this morning's meeting about 100-150 boys were using the new service.

"Currently our two 753 buses from the station in the afternoon are significantly overloaded and are unsafe. On Monday this week, they were both loaded to the gunnels and there were 30-odd students who couldn't get on. So what they do is they cross the road to catch the new 24 bus, which by the time it leaves St Pat's now is also overfull."

rnz.co.nz

Commuters at a bus stop in Newtown. Source: rnz.co.nz



Government reveals details of emails between Clare Curran and Derek Handley

Details of the email exchange between former Digital Services Minister Clare Curran and Derek Handley were revealed today during Parliament's Question Time. 

Ms Curran said she was not aware of RNZ's policies surrounding meetings with Minister's at the time.
Source: 1 NEWS

The messages were sent over the role of chief technology officer, with Ms Curran using her private Gmail account to send the emails. 

An offer to Mr Handley for the role was retracted by the Government last week, resulting in a $100,000 pay out to the entrepreneur. 

Acting State Services Minister Grant Robertson told the House the following about three exchanges between the pair about the role. 

First exchange

August 11: 

"Derek Handley emails Clare Curran about the chief technology officer position and questions about the role of the CTO, including resourcing for the role and potential conflicts of interest."

August 14

"Clare Curran replies to that email, confirming a call to discuss these matters."

August 15

"Derek Handley replies to that, confirming times for the call."

Second exchange

August 19

"Clare Curran emails Derek Handley regarding logistics around the next step on the process of appointment, including the content of any public statements that might be made, and refers to contract discussions with the Department of Internal Affairs (DIA)."

August 20

"Derek Handley responds to that email to Clare Curran about those issues, including the contact he has had with DIA and management of conflicts of interest."

Third exchange

August 21

"Clare Curran emails Derek Handley regarding issues that would be on the work plan of the chief technology officer and attaches some relevant background documents on those issues.

"On the same day, Derek Handley responds to Clare Curran, acknowledging the material and referring to the discussions that he is having with DIA."

Derek Handley says he’ll donate the compensation but is disappointed at the way the issue was handled. Source: 1 NEWS

The chief technology officer was intended to "drive a forward-looking digital agenda for New Zealand", said the then Minister for Government Digital Services Clare Curran, when the role was announced last December. 

The new Minister for Government Digital Services Megan Woods said the Government have put a "full stop" on the process.

Ms Curran was stripped of her position as Minister for Government Digital Services after not disclosing a meeting with Mr Handley previously.


Over 20 vehicles vandalised overnight in suburb on Auckland's North Shore

More than 20 vehicles have been damaged overnight in an area on Auckland's, North Shore.

Police say a number of vehicles' tyres have been vandalised in Birkdale's, Tiri Tiri Road and Woodhams Street area.

Anyone who has had their car damaged is urged to report it to police if they haven't already done so.

Police are making area enquiries and conducting scene and forensic examinations and are interested to hear from anyone who may have information.


John Healy says people drastically underestimate the risks of leaving kids or pets in their car.
Source: 1 NEWS