Soar­ing like an ea­gle

Classic Driver - - LETTERS -

per­for­mance pa­ram­e­ters for items of ve­hi­cle equip­ment. A rule is a means of demon­strat­ing com­pli­ance with a reg­u­la­tion (NOTE “a means” not “the means”. Other means are pos­si­ble pro­vided that it can be demon­strated that they meet the per­for­mance pa­ram­e­ters of the reg­u­la­tions). The task of draft­ing a suit­able rule is gen­er­ally del­e­gated to the head of the Govern­ment Agency re­spon­si­ble for ad­min­is­ter­ing the reg­u­la­tions, as is the task of ap­point­ing ex­pert in­spec­tors/ cer­ti­fiers who check that the rule has in­deed been fol­lowed.

Rules are signed out by the Min­is­ter re­spon­si­ble for the Govern­ment Agency. As a re­sult any in­struc­tion claim­ing to be a re­vi­sion to a rule is only valid if it is signed out by the re­spon­si­ble Min­is­ter. A let­ter from a staff mem­ber does not cut the mus­tard. At best staff letters are opin­ion on in­ter­pre­ta­tion, and ad­vice to prac­ti­tion­ers. They are not legally bind­ing in­struc­tions. It may or may not sur­prise you that Agency pub­li­ca­tions, such as the Road Code, also fall into the ad­vice cat­e­gory. The Road Code is not a le­gal doc­u­ment.

Now here is the rub. As we move along the reg­u­la­tory hi­er­ar­chy the work gets more spe­cialised and more de­tailed. When we hit the cer­ti­fy­ing stage then the back­ground, qual­i­fi­ca­tions and skills re­quired to do that job are very spe­cialised in­deed. It is most prob­a­ble that the Govern­ment Agency con­cerned ac­tu­ally has no staff mem­ber with the re­quired skills and qual­i­fi­ca­tions to do the job. If they lack the com­pe­tence to do the job them­selves then they also lack the com­pe­tence to tell you how to do it. You, the ap­pointed en­gi­neer on the spot, is the only per­son who can make a le­git­i­mate de­ter­mi­na­tion as to whether the ve­hi­cle in front of you does or does not com­ply with the rule. You can be sure that if the prover­bial hits the fan then a de­fence that you were only fol­low­ing Agency di­rec­tives will fail. Af­ter all, by def­i­ni­tion, you know more about this par­tic­u­lar thing than any­one in the Agency does and should not al­low their in­put to sway your de­ci­sion.

The same com­pe­tence con­sid­er­a­tion also ap­plies to the mak­ing of the rule in the first place. A rule made by an Agency lack­ing the spe­cific tech­ni­cal skills de­manded by the rule would be a very chancy thing in­deed. So the rule-mak­ing process is done by a con­sul­ta­tive panel in­clud­ing the Govern­ment Agency (to ad­vise just what per­for­mance fac­tors the rule is re­quired achieve), in­dus­try rep­re­sen­ta­tives (to ad­vise what tech­niques and hard­ware are avail­able to achieve that end) and cer­ti­fier rep­re­sen­ta­tives (to ad­vise on whether or not what is de­cided is ob­serv­able and mea­sur­able for cer­ti­fi­ca­tion pur­poses). Any “in­struc­tion” which has not come through that con­sul­ta­tion and Min­is­te­rial sign off sys­tem must be treated with sus­pi­cion.

So how come things get so slack that ul­tra vires in­struc­tions are is­sued? Sim­ply habit. The pur­pose of any bu­reau­cracy is to con­trol the flow of in­for­ma­tion to and from Min­is­ters. If you are the Agency through which all ad­vice to the Min­is­ter flows, and your ad­vice is al­ways fol­lowed, then it be­comes easy to for­get that it is Min­is­ters, Gov­ern­ments or Par­lia­ments that ac­tu­ally de­ter­mine what hap­pens. Trev Lis­ter, Email TH Thanks Trev. Hope­fully this may help our cor­re­spon­dent get his is­sues sorted. Hello Tony, I had just writ­ten a let­ter to you a cou­ple of days back but af­ter re­ceiv­ing is­sue 54 have re-thought it. Points I had made are fur­ther as­sured by this is­sue.

I have an in­ter­est in most me­chan­i­cal de­vices that ply the land, sky or wa­ter but this is height­ened greatly if they should be sport­ing or per­for­mance in na­ture. I have dab­bled in power­boat rac­ing, kart­ing, speed­way and cars of var­i­ous forms. I was buy­ing books and mag­a­zines from the time I was 12 years old, a lot of these bore the names of Eion Young, Al­lan Dick and Don An­der­son. A lot of them were Aus­tralian Sport­scar, Sports Spe­cials, World’s Fastest Sport­scar, Sport­scar Spe­cials, World’s Fastest Sport­scar.

I de­vel­oped a love for the kind of cars most other people didn’t drive. I loved the pe­riod of sa­loon car rac­ing that saw the cre­ations such as the Monaro and other Chev-pow­ered baby cars.

By the time the 80s ar­rived and un­til this day, most lat­ter day cars have left me dead with very few ex­cep­tions.

I bought NZ Clas­sic Car and read a cou­ple of ar­ti­cles per is­sue. The dis­cov­ery of Clas­sic Driver was a lift­ing ex­pe­ri­ence. It was like find­ing people, cars and places thought lost, like re­dis­cov­er­ing old friends.

The pages of Clas­sic Driver have pro­duced won­der­ful ar­ti­cles, fab­u­lous pho­tos and right up there have been the letters to the edi­tor. These have solved is­sues, dis­pelled myths, brought to the fore achieve­ments of many never ap­pre­ci­ated fully. Equally great are the names signed to these letters, friends ac­quain­tances and people I have al­ways been in awe of.

In the du­ra­tion of 54 is­sues I have lost some friends and gained some but it seems my fear of los­ing my favourite mag­a­zine was un­founded.

A friend and busi­ness part­ner used to joke (I hope) “How can I soar like an ea­gle when I’m sur­rounded by tur­keys?”

Not some­thing you have to worry about Tony. Re­gards, Don Am­man

Don An­der­son hasn’t come beg­ging to join the elite yet?

P.S The Ray Winn Trust is cur­rently re­lo­cat­ing Ray’s collection into their new pur­pose built build­ing at Hig­gins Park at Wake­field. Gary Ad­d­cock has the full green light on the Ta­paw­era Mo­tor­sport and Ad­ven­ture Park. The next big hur­dle, fund­ing. Gary has been in talks with Tas­man and Nel­son Coun­cils and next month is ear­marked for form­ing a steer­ing com­mit­tee, hope­fully in time an­other step­ping stone in the South­ern Fes­ti­val of Speed Cir­cuit. 119 Eighty Eight Val­ley, Rd.,Wake­field RD 1, 7095.

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