Those who attended last years' NZALPA Annual Conference will recall a major outcome was the direction members gave to progress our Structural Review and to form a necessary working party to do so.
The Structural Review Working Party, consisting of Peter Fleming – Air NZ Jet; Nick Pittaway – Mt Cook Airline; Air Traffic Controller Dan Woodhouse; Dawn Handforth – NZALPA General Manager; Tom Buckley – General Aviation Advocate- were given a firm mandate. This was to review the current NZALPA structure and determine the most appropriate structure for NZALPA in its role as a union and professional organisation in order to achieve NZALPA's objectives.
As with our successful negotiations, the Working Party used rational problem-solving techniques throughout their deliberations. They have also consulted with our Board of Management (BOM) and employer Councils as their work has progressed to gain feedback and 'pressure test' their progress. At this month's BOM meeting there will be a full brief on the Working Party's final report and recommendation before being presented to our upcoming Annual Conference in June.
Meanwhile, NZALPA has had consistent and high profile coverage over the last month calling for compulsory registration of drones greater than 250g, as well as formal licencing and airworthiness requirements for RPAS pilots and aircraft greater than 15kg. With other stakeholders and members of the public we've also called for better drone operator education – including the possibility of information being made available to inbound tourists at airports, shipping ports and retail outlets –as well as a greater online/social media education program available through the both the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) and Airways New Zealand.
Following our meeting with the Minister of Transport on this issue, we've also reached out with urgency to the Director of the CAA, Graeme Harris, and CEO of Aviation New Zealand, John Nicholson, to share concerns and to importantly gain support for an industry-wide consensus on these matters. Both these organisations have indicated initial support for NZALPA's recommendations.
In addition, NZALPA is a key member of a meeting being held this month, bringing together industry stakeholders to further work through these possible drone operational and rule-based recommendations and improvements. NZALPA Technical Officer David Reynolds will be attending and we're also looking for clear outcomes to keep the wider industry and the travelling public, whose concern is also growing, abreast of developments.
Another issue of high aviation industry and wider public concern again on the agenda is aircraft laser strikes following two high profile incidents in Northland and Canterbury. Our specific concerns led to extensive TV and radio coverage when NZALPA called for a total prohibition of high powered hand-held lasers within New Zealand.
We have followed this up through formal engagement with the Beehive and government officials and we have been approached in regard to a Private Member's Bill to potentially hasten legislation to address a number of our concerns regarding how this issue is both dealt with and increasing both the financial and custodial consequences for offenders. Ultimately we͛d like to see firm legislation and cross-party support that stamps out the highly dangerous possession and use of these barely-needed devices.
Finally, as we go to print, I'm delighted that the Air New Zealand Jet negotiators have reached a settlement with the Company. Alongside a potential 9-year Memorandum of Understanding, at the time of writing the ratification ballot had commenced. Thanks for all the hard work carried out by the NZALPA Industrial Director, Andrew Ridling, and his negotiation team during this bargaining round.
Have a safe month.