Civil Aviation Authority chair Nigel Gould resigns at Transport Minister Phil Twyford's request

The chair of the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) has resigned at the request of the Transport Minister Phil Twyford.

Late on Wednesday afternoon Nigel Gould sent an email to all of his staff.

It stated: "At the request of the Minister I will be resigning as chair of the CAA".

It comes after a Newshub investigation led to multiple current and former CAA employees coming forward with complaints about sexual harassment and bullying being covered up by CAA management.

Gould then questioned the motives of staff who went public, saying he wasn't sure their complaints showed a problem in CAA's systems.

"I don't know what the motive is for some of these people," he told Newshub earlier in August. "You've got to ask what their motive is in going public the way they are through you."

At that time, Twyford said those comments were "ill-judged" and disappointing - but thought Gould resigning would be "a step too far".

Now he says he's changed his mind.

"I told Mr Gould the CAA was going through some big changes and it would be best to have fresh leadership at this time," he told Newshub on Wednesday. "I thanked him for his service to the authority."

Gould's statement to all staff went on to say he's enjoyed working at the Authority over the past eight years and it is "with sadness that I reflect on the unjustified comments by the media".

"Formal staff surveys and more recent feedback describe a culture that is at odds with that portrayed within the media," he wrote. "Issues that may still exist will be further addressed by initiatives recently introduced."

Following Newshub's investigation into the CAA, Twyford announced an investigation into internal culture at the agency and stated he would use independent experts as part of this inquiry.

The Ministry of Transport told Newshub this investigation is being prioritised.

"In light of recent allegations of bullying and harassment at the Civil Aviation Authority, we have been directed by the Minister to conduct an investigation of the organisational culture at the authority," governance and commercial manager Ngaire Best told Newshub.

The aviation industry has been calling for a shakeup of CAA leadership for some time now.

"A number of concerns have been raised about CAA historically. But nothing seems to change," Aviation New Zealand CEO John Nicholson told Newshub earlier this month.

"So it would suggest that there's time for some refreshing of that leadership team."

It now seems this refresh has begun.



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