Associate Transport Minister Julie Anne Genter backs NZTA boss, despite early departure

Associate Transport Minister Julie Anne Genter says it's a good time for the head of the New Zealand Transport Agency (NZTA) to resign, just a third of the way through his contract.

Board chair Michael Stiassny announced his resignation on Friday, claiming it's time for a new chair and new CEO.

Former CEO Fergus Gammie quit in December 2018 after it was discovered mechanics had been giving warrants of fitness (WOF) to cars that were too dangerous to be on the road.

Kristy McDonald QC conducted an independent report into NZTA's processes around one specific WOF provider, Dargaville Diesel Specialists, who certified a car as safe only for its seat belt to fail in a crash, causing the death of a man.

In his resignation announcement, Stiassny said most of the recommendations from the report had been implemented.

Genter told Newshub Nation on Saturday the NZTA was currently undergoing a period of change.

"When it comes to Michael Stiassny, he was instrumental over the last year in uncovering very serious regulatory failure of that organisation for a long time.

"As he said in his statement his work there is complete, and now we've got quite a big job to carry on with the paradigm shift in transport that this Government is committed to, which will ensure that there's more choice for New Zealanders and that we have safer roads."

National MP Paul Goldsmith said in the wake of the resignation the NZTA is in disarray.

"It's telling that he's jumping ship only one year into a three-year contract and goes to show how deep the rot is within NZTA at the moment."

But Genter wouldn't say much more about the resignation, clamming up when host Emma Jolliff suggested leaving so early into a contract is a bad look.

"Really, Minister [Phil] Twyford is responsible for that so I can't comment much further."