Soaring like an eagle
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.