NZALPA Conference 2016 was opened by our President, Tim Robinson, who welcomed attendees and our special guests. Housekeeping was the first thing on the agenda and attendees were briefed on using social media for the event, using #nzalpa16 to engage with NZALPA and members.
The process of ensuring quorum and organising proxies was completed, and Paul Robinson was appointed as the Returning Officer. Previous years minutes, awards nominations, and the remits, were all dealt with, and then the main business of the Conference got underway.
First up was the panel discussion ‘Just Culture’ – Embedding Just Culture in the New Zealand Aviation Industry, facilitated by Karl Perry.
Attendees were overwhelming positive on the concept of Just Culture, but also realistic about the challenges that were ahead in embedding it in New Zealand.
Our Guest Keynote Speaker, Mr Graeme Harris, Director NZ Civil Aviation Authority, addressed the Conference primarily on the regulation of drones in New Zealand. This talk was interesting and confronting from a labour perspective. What does the future hold for our industry? With so much new technology we must be prepared to face these challenges and ensure the safety of our members and the public.
The Principle Officer Reports were then given which gave a great overview of what we had achieved over the previous year, and what we needed to do into the future to continue building NZALPA. Our President spoke about the challenges and barriers facing our representatives in stepping up into leadership roles, but emphasised that the qualities of these people reflect what employers are also looking for. His report was overwhelmingly positive, and while he highlighted that there is a lot of work to do, attendees were left feeling optimistic for the sustainability and future of NZALPA.
The afternoon also included reports from our Technical Officer, and overseas colleagues.
Panel Discussion - 'Just Culture' - Embedding Just Culture in the New Zealand Aviation Industry
The panel discussion was moderated by Mr Karl Perry. Karl commenced by introducing the panel
and asking each panel member to give a brief outline of how ‘Just Culture’ fits within their area of
industry responsibility. This years panel included:
- Mr Graeme Harris – Director - New Zealand Civil Aviation Authority
- Captain Martin Chalk – President – International Federation of Air Line Pilots’ Associations
- Garth Koleszar - Professional Standards Trainer - National Air Traffic Controllers Association
- Mr Alan Bradbury – Operational Integrity and Investigations Manager - Air New Zealand
- Mr Peter Stockwell – Chief Operating Officer – Ab Initio Training (NZ) - CTC Aviation
- Mr Mike Gillham - Intensivist & Anaesthetist – Intensive Care Specialist – Auckland DHB
Significant discussion then ensued between the panelists, which was also extended by questions
from Karl and the Conference delegates. Some of the key points made by the panel during this
- The industry must continue to encourage a culture of speaking up. Stakeholders and employees
need to feel safe in reporting, without a constant threat of being disciplined or prosecuted.
- The industry and the ‘systems’ (regulators, airlines, ATS providers, operators) within it have a
critical part to play in setting up the safety culture. “Just Culture” is an important part of any
- “Just Culture” has to be across whole organisations – not just within certain parts, such as flight
- Making “Just Culture” part of the global or international aviation industry is our biggest challenge.
- One of the biggest barriers to embedding “Just Culture” is the tension between a State’s justice
system and its aviation sector. The justice system see things in a very black and white manner,
especially the criminal justice system. The justice system is also a reactive system, whilst in “Just
Culture” we are working towards a proactive, preventative safety system.
- Reporting to an aircraft incident or accident investigation should be the same as providing
information to a legal representative. There should be certain rights of privilege, where receivers
of the information are under no obligation to pass the information on (i.e. the information or
report should be non-admissible to the Court). Where this concept is not in place a conflict often
occurs between an independent investigation and a judicial/criminal investigation of the same
event as to who has the ‘ownership’ of the evidence.
- Media and politicians can be barriers to “Just Culture”, especially as we try to embed it into
State legislation. The industry finds it difficult to change public reaction to aviation incidents and
accidents, eg: the recent Carterton Balloon Tragedy. There will always be some level of shock
and the public will be searching for accountability and often blame and retribution.
- We need strong leadership within aviation organisations, with leaders committed to the “Just
Culture” process and being prepared to follow it through. You can’t have “Just Culture” unless
you have good leadership.
The panel was a very successful part of this year’s Conference and delegates provided feedback that
they had really enjoyed it and learned a great deal from. We hope to be able to continue this kind
of interactive forum in Conferences of the future.
Fun was had by all at the cocktail party, which also gave NZALPA the opportunity to honour some of our valued members.
Greg Vujcich Memorial Award
recipient - Wayne McMillan
, Mt Cook Ski Planes.
Jim Collins Memorial Award
recipient - Mark Everitt
, New Zealand Civil Aviation Authority.
We also thanked retired members Colin Rippey, Frank Karl and Trevor Palin for their contribution to NZALPA.