The Ministry's Chief Executive, Martin Matthews has expressed deep sympathy for the families of those who lost their lives in the 2012 Carterton hot-air balloon collision with power lines.

“This was a tragedy for the families and we feel very deeply for them.”

Mr Matthews says the Ministry regards the Transport Accident Investigation Commission’s recommendations for the Ministry as important and is giving them careful and full consideration.

“Like the Commission, the Ministry also believes there should be zero tolerance of operator impairment, where members of the public are being transported by sea, rail and air.

“In December, we will be giving advice to the Minister of Transport on the Commission’s recommendations.”

There are already some measures in place that partially address the Commission’s first three recommendations.

Many transport operators – such as Air New Zealand, Qantas, KiwiRail and Maersk Line – already have drug and alcohol testing regimes.

Following a review in 2012, adventure activity operators are now required to manage the safety risks associated with drug or alcohol impairment in their relevant safety plans.

The Civil Aviation Authority has worked closely with adventure aviation operators to support the development and implementation of drug and alcohol management policies that include testing.

The Maritime Transport Amendment Act 2013, which came into force last week, implements the internationally applicable alcohol limit for merchant seafarers.

Read the Ministry’s full response to the Commission’s recommendations [DOC, 276 KB].

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