New Zealand's aviation regulatory system is based on a life cycle approach. Participants enter the system, operate within it, and ultimately exit.
The life cycle approach to regulating civil aviation comes from the 1988 Swedavia-McGregor report, which forms the philosophical basis of civil aviation regulation in New Zealand.
It says aviation participants operate within a closed system, bounded by the aviation rules.
Participants enter this system when they have met the minimum standards and are issued with the relevant aviation documents. While in the system, they must continue to comply with these standards and the conditions of their documents. At intervals, their adherence to standards is checked, and any corrective actions are identified. This is our surveillance function.
Participants exit the system either voluntarily, by surrendering their documents, or as the result of action taken by the Director to suspend or revoke the document. The Director takes such exit actions in the interests of safety when other regulatory tools have failed or are inappropriate.
The Civil Aviation Act 1990 places responsibility for the safety of operations on document holders. In return, document holders are able to exercise the privileges within their document.
The Act establishes the scope of the Director's responsibility for surveillance. It prescribes the functions, duties and powers of the Director in conducting surveillance. It defines the relationship between the CAA and civil aviation participants, their roles and responsibilities.
The core regulatory functions of the Director, such as standards development, entry control and safety education, all depend on the flow of compliance and safety information into the CAA. This includes information from accident and incident investigations, self-reporting, mandatory operating reports, complaints and aviation safety data from any source, as well as findings from safety audits and inspections. The CAA collects and analyses this data to show the industry's safety performance. This information is used to identify any changes required to improve safety, including changes to rules and other CAA processes. The CAA also provides support and advice to document holders to assist and promote compliance with the rules.