Last month President Tim Robinson and I spent a full day in Wellington, meeting with parliamentarians, officials and stakeholders to update them on the most pressing issues NZALPA faces – seeking both opinion and support.
Our topics included the pilot supply issue and student loans; the ongoing need for appropriate registration of RPAS/drones; UAV integration; Just Culture; HEMS; RESA; our call for the prohibition of hand held lasers; the Employment Relations Amendment Bill and access for Air Traffic Controllers to adequate meals and rest breaks; and official information access to cockpit digital data and incident recordings.
As members know, over the last 18 months NZALPA has increased its public profile and awareness of issues affecting our members through sustained media comment, both proactively and reactively. We have also sought closer working relationships with key stakeholders and those who influence industry and public opinion. Next month we’ll report on the membership communications audit and how well you think we’re doing in this respect and, more critically, what we can do to improve NZALPA’s visibility and effectiveness on key topics our members really care about.
This type of feedback is important for leadership and for those who support and serve our membership. We can monitor our effectiveness and reach by our appearance in media, and from our negotiations and conversations with employers and groups within the industry for example. The further and diverse insights we gather from those policy makers and political leaders about New Zealand’s pilots and air traffic control community is always valuable when we meet with them to explain our views and concerns.
What was particularly pleasing was the warm reception we received in Wellington from MPs across both parties (Labour and National) we met with, as well as officials. Unlike other unions and memberships associations, it seems this could be for two reasons.
The first is that when NZALPA is particularly concerned about an issue on behalf of its members, it is clear about the effect not just on its members but also on the industry as a whole and often the wider travelling public. This makes our concerns relevant and timely. The Wellington Airport proposed runway extension RESA issue was a good example of this.
This was evident in the interest shown in our updates, and the willingness to listen to our views by those we met with in Wellington. These are vital relationships and for NZALPA mean continual vigilance and pushing issues through these channels - some acute with the upcoming Private Member’s Bill proposing harsher penalties for hand held laser attacks on aircraft, and others with a longer and more contentious road such as with mandatory meal and rest break legislation.
It is so important that through our conduct and willingness to engage and nurture key relationships, even if we don’t always agree, that NZALPA can continue to encounter only open doors and a willingness to listen.
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