Kenny Crawford is the general manager of Maritime Compliance for Maritime NZ. The compliance function looks after investigations, inspections, auditing and enforcement, as well as providing assisted compliance, campaigns and guidance. Kenny talks about his and his people’s experience and understanding of G-REG.


Kenny Crawford G RegIs compliance finding G-REG useful?
I can answer this in two parts. The existing staff have self-learned a lot about the existing regulations and the Maritime Transport Act. They have not only found it useful as a refresher, to brush up on their knowledge of it, but it has also prompted them to think about any amendments that have come in over the past few years.


The real value is for new people coming in, especially if they’ve come from a foreign country, because we get a lot of overseas people coming to work at Maritime NZ. They don’t know the regulatory system in New Zealand. What they’ve got is an opportunity to get a consistent learning. One of the things you want from compliance people is consistency, so that they’re applying the laws in a uniform and appropriate manner.


Is it helping with communicating with other parts of the organisation?
That’s what I mean about consistency. It’s not only consistency of application, it’s consistency when you’re dealing with people internally. We’re all talking the same language.


Are your people getting value from the course?
The new people are getting value from it. We are giving the course to all new people coming in. They are finding real value in it. They get to understand the standard that we are operating under.


Do you think that G-REG is beneficial for administrative staff as well?
People have done this over weekends because they’re keen on it. One of the things I push for in the learning and development steering group, when we talk about what level do we put this through, is to put it out to the entire organisation. It’s about consistency. A lot of the admin staff, they deal with front line people as well. It’s good to have that common language, that common understanding. It’s also about why we’re here, and as a regulator what are the rules. It’s about the purpose of the organisation.


At your level, how are senior staff finding it?
We have to do this. It’s inconceivable that we wouldn’t do it, because we stand up in front of the public, we stand in front of forums and we espouse forth on this stuff, representing Maritime NZ. And in some cases we are representing New Zealand. We have to have the basics. We have to know the regulatory context of New Zealand. We need to know what we can do and what we can commit to and what is going to cause us problems. New Zealand has signed up to a number of international treaties, which Maritime NZ is the implementing agency for. So we’ve got to know how we do that stuff.


What about the wider context of G-REG?
The point of this is that the way New Zealand works is that New Zealanders should be able to do what they want to do. However, if it’s unsafe they need to regulate it. That regulation has to be appropriate, it has to be in line with best practice and it has to also not only make things safe… We can give you zero fatalities in New Zealand waters by making a law that nobody goes within 10 metres of water; that’s not it. We’re an island nation, we need to have the ability to prosper, we need economic growth and regulation plays a part of that -the regulation ought to support that.G-REG is giving people the tools, and the knowledge, the consistency and a common language. Being international, we deal with other departments like MBIE and the Ministry of the Environment. If we could talk the same language, it would make life a lot easier. 


Has that changed over the last while, or are you yet to see change?
One of our people has taken a secondment with another agency. Because he’s done it here, he’s gone over there and he doesn’t have to relearn the New Zealand regulatory context. That’s the other part about this, you can then go to another government agency and understand how the government system works.


Is there anything else you’d like to add?
I came here 12 years ago and I wish I’d had it then; it would have made life a lot easier for me, instead of having to learn it myself.


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