Northland's largest logging truck company being forced off roads

One in five logging trucks in Northland will be forced off the roads from Friday over serious and widespread safety concerns, and they all belong to a former mayor of Whangarei.

NZTA has put the brakes on Whangarei's largest trucking company, Stan Semenoff, from Friday.

Spokesman Steve Haszard says the company's licence has been revoked over continued and significant breaches.

"Drivers were working longer than they ought to have been working without rest breaks and additionally there was evidence of speeding as well."

NZTA says its concerns with Stan Semenoff Logging relate to driver fatigue and behaviour, breaches of rest time rules, pervasive logbook issues and the accumulation of 116 speed and traffic offences over four years.

It's believed the company operates about 20 percent of the logging trucks in Northland.

From midnight Friday more than 50 will be off the road, and it's believed up to 85 staff will be directly affected.

The Regional Council says this will impact those staff and cause a backlog for the forestry industry.

The company is run by Stan Semenoff, the former mayor of Whangarei, who said in a statement he strongly disagrees with NZTA's comments.

He said there have never been any serious safety concerns at Stan Semenoff Loggging to justify NZTA's decision.

The Semenoff Group is the region's largest road transport company, moving everything from cement to livestock and licences for its other vehicles have not been revoked.

NZTA says it has been "strongly encouraging" Stan Semenoff Logging to lift its safety standards since 2016.

Many of the drivers working for Semenoff are reportedly migrants from The Philippines.

Two years ago Semenoff told Newshub about the need to bring them in.

But first union's Jarred Abbott says migrant drivers are particularly vulnerable to being overworked.

"It's the standard now for companies for to expect people to push their limit to the full 70 hours and when you're on roads like NZ with heavy traffic and differing varying conditions if you're working to the limit the likelihood is you're going to breach these conditions."

The NZTA says it's looking at what support it can offer the workers.

Semenoff says he plans to appeal the decision in the district court.