Out of the 850 “open files”, or unresolved safety problems, the worst had been resolved but there were still 28 that were being urgently investigated, Twyford said.
There had been 157 files considered high priority, 370 classed as “orange”, and 345 “yellow”.
Twyford said he has been assured the highest priority cases had been dealt with by formal compliance action either completed or under way.
“Injuries on our roads are not the price we pay to travel. They are unacceptable and preventable,” he said.
“I’m disappointed that NZTA has failed to carry out its regulatory functions.”
He had appointed the Ministry of Transport to review those functions, and given what the public and Government now knew, it was appropriate to appoint external advice, he said.
Law firm Meredith Connell took up the job near the end of September to review the files and the agency was moving quickly to rectify lapses. The cost of engaging the law firm so far was $400,000
The agency had failed to properly check operators who certified vehicles or operators, as safe for the road, and when problems were identified there was often no follow up, Twyford said.
Staff had been redeployed with reduced focus on the regulatory role over the past decade with an emphasis on education and encouragement rather than enforcement, made worse in 2014 when it lost staff from its heavy vehicle compliance team.
Twyford said the systemic failure of one of the government’s most important agencies over several years was unacceptable
As previously reported, the failures of the agency have led to one fatality in a car, and cases of metal fatigue in truck towbars.