Richard Taplin v The New Zealand Transport Agency [2016] NZDC 3571

Published 12 July 2016

Decline to issue transport (goods) service licence — appeal — Land Transport Act 1998, ss 30C, 30F, 30J, 30L, 106 — District Courts Rules 2014, r 18.19. An appeal from a decision of the New Zealand Transport Agency not to grant the appellant a transport (goods) service licence (“GSL”) was dismissed. The general right to appeal relied upon is found in section 106 of the Act, and under r 18.19 of the District Courts Rules 2014 the appeal is by way of rehearing with further evidence able to be heard. The issue was whether, in light of breaches of the Act, traffic infringements and a past criminal history, the applicant could be considered a fit and proper person under the Act. Public safety is a central factor for this consideration under sections 30C, and 30F provides for criminal activity and other transport-related offending to be taken into account in relation to any goods service. The Court determined that the Agency’s grounds for declining to grant the GSL were valid. The applicant had a “somewhat laissez faire approach to management and regulatory compliance issues”, which fell short of the standard required under the Act. The applicant had continued to use a company’s GSL for a prolonged period after it went into liquidation, and the totality of the applicant’s traffic infringements demonstrated a disregard for public safety. Accordingly, the Agency was correct in determining the applicant was not a fit and proper person for the purposes of granting a GSL.