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Safer transport through investigation, learning and influence
The principal purpose of the New Zealand Transport Accident Investigation Commission (the Commission) is “to determine the circumstances and causes of accidents and incidents with a view to avoiding similar occurrences in the future, rather than to ascribe blame to any person” (Transport Accident Investigation Commission Act 1990).
The Commission will hold an inquiry into a marine, rail or air accident or incident when it believes lessons or recommendations to help improve transport safety might result.
Road accidents (unless there is another mode involved, such as rail) or accidents involving only military vehicles are not the Commission’s responsibility.
The Minister of Transport may direct the Commission to hold an inquiry into an event which does not meet the usual criteria for investigation.
Accident investigation overview provides further information about the conduct of an inquiry from notification of an event until publication of an inquiry report.

The Commission seeks to influence transport safety improvements through promoting the learning from its investigations and wider work, and by ensuring it keeps up to date with international research and best practice for accident investigation.
Inquiry reports are published on this website, along with information about purchasing printed copies and a subscription service for email advice of reports going online.
Plain English executive summaries are included in published reports (from 2010) to help the news media and general public understand the key points.
The Commission makes safety recommendations in its reports where appropriate safety actions by the regulator or parties involved in the event have not been taken.
The Commission monitors the implementation of safety recommendations, and maintains an online database of these and their current status.
Reports with potential application beyond New Zealand are given to the appropriate international body, and the Commission’s work practices are subject to periodic audit by both ICAO and IMO.
The Commission aims to build and maintain appropriate relationships with the transport sector in which it can communicate its work, gather useful information to support it, and get feedback on how its work is being received and used.
The Commission is implementing a research strategy to both help individual inquiries and to ensure it has access to appropriate knowledge to help guide and support its work generally.
The Commission is a standing Commission of Inquiry and an independent Crown entity established and empowered by the: Transport Accident Investigation Commission Act 1990, Commissions of Inquiry Act 1908, and the Crown Entities Act 2004.
Commissioners are appointed by the Governor-General on recommendation of the Minister of Transport for fixed, renewable terms. There may be up to five Commissioners appointed at any one time.

The current Commissioners are:



Jane Meares



Jane Meares

Chief Commissioner 

Jane Meares is a commercial barrister based at Clifton Chambers in Wellington. Prior to joining Clifton Chambers, Jane was the chief legal adviser at the Treasury and, before that, a commercial partner in the Wellington office of Bell Gully. At the bar, she undertakes a broad range of commercial and public sector advisory work. She is currently chair of Parliamentary Counsel's risk and audit committee, chair of the Ballet Foundation of New Zealand, on the Corporate Trust Board of Trustees Executors Ltd and a board member of ECNZ.  Jane Meares was first appointed a Commissioner in February 2015, and appointed Chief Commissioner in November 2016.



Peter McKenzie QC

Deputy Chief Commissioner

Peter McKenzie is a commercial barrister in sole practice at Capital Chambers, Wellington.  He was Chair of the Securities Commission from 1990 to 1995.  In addition to his Barrister's practice he has lectured in corporate, banking and finance law at Leeds University and at Victoria University of Wellington.  Before becoming a barrister he was a senior litigation partner and commercial partner with Brandon Brookfield, Solicitors.  He has consulted internationally on company and securities law to numerous foreign governments, and has authored a number of text and journal articles in his areas of expertise.  Peter McKenzie was appointed to the Commission in August 2015.




Stephen Davies Howard


Stephen Davies Howard is a Wellington based company director. Prior to coming to New Zealand he held leadership roles in the UK public sector, including Parliamentary Select Committee and Defence Council enquiries.  He spent his early career as a fighter pilot with the Royal Air Force and also served in the Royal New Zealand Air Force, attaining the rank of Group Captain in both services. He has a wealth of strategic international experience and was an accredited Attaché to the British Embassy in Washington DC, USA.  Stephen retains both a commercial pilot license and a commercially endorsed Ocean Yachtmaster's certificate. Stephen Davies Howard was appointed to the Commission in August 2015.




Richard Marchant


Richard Marchant is an Auckland-based barrister who has prosecuted a large number of cases on behalf of government agencies.  He was previously a partner at Meredith Connell, and Chair of the Board from 2008 to 2013.  He is a member of the New Zealand Bar Association and of the Criminal Bar Association.  He has served on the executive of the Criminal Bar Association, the legal assistance scheme committee of the Auckland District Law Society, the local consultative group of the Legal Services Agency; a member of the performance review committee of Ministry of Justice, and on the Auckland Regional Courts Group.  Richard Marchant was appointed to the Commission in December 2016.


TAIC produces a Statement of Intent every three years, supplemented by an annual Statement of Performance Expectations setting out the organisation’s proposed priorities, activity and budget, and against which it later reports in its Annual Report. These documents are tabled in Parliament by the Minister of Transport or the Associate Minister.

The Commission is responsible for an annual budget of about $5.2m of public funding and for completing 20-25 inquiries a year. It employs the chief executive who in turn employs the other 28 staff, comprising 15 investigators headed by a Chief Investigator of Accidents, along with management, finance, legal, communications, research, report co-ordination, investigation support, and administration support roles.  (Additional on-going funding was provided to the Commission from July 2015, and the staff numbers above include new positions to be recruited through until 2016).
[January 2017]