I was unable to attend this year’s Conference, for personal reasons. However I have been following conference events with great interest.
At a time when NZALPA is currently finalising its submissions on the Government’s exposure draft of the Civil Aviation Bill, I was particularly interested to read the Minister of Transport’s keynote address speech notes to gain further insights into the Government’s thinking behind the proposed changes to the Act.
The Minister was clear in his praise for aviation and how incredibly important and vital it is for the broader New Zealand economy and New Zealand tourism in particular. He pointed out that as an isolated trading nation, New Zealand needs to ensure that aviation is as strong as possible and that he takes seriously the importance placed on safety.
Civil Aviation Bill
NZALPA has spent considerable time and effort in recent years talking with stakeholders, including the Minister and the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA), lobbying for numerous aviation safety improvements to be adopted as part of the current legislative review process. High on our list of issues most urgently needing attention were the application in New Zealand aviation of Just Culture and compliance with the International Civil Aviation Organisation’s (ICAO) Annex 13. ICAO annexes set out the standards and recommended practices (SARPs) expected from ICAO signatories.
Therefore, it was surprising to see that the exposure draft of the Civil Aviation Bill (which purports to introduce “a number of proposals to improve the safety, security and efficiency of our civil aviation system”) proposes a watered-down version of Just Culture principles which falls well short of ICAO principles. The Bill also completely fails to address NZALPA’s widely expressed concern regarding New Zealand’s failure to comply with ICAO Annex 13 and have independent accident investigation completely separate from the civil aviation regulator or the protection of safety-sensitive data.
Actions rather than words
It is concerning that in an industry that the Minister acknowledges is integral to our economy, that important safety standards such as these are not properly being considered, or even being considered at all.
NZALPA has other concerns with the Government’s proposals and in our submissions to the exposure draft we will advocate for the new legislative and regulatory framework to meet international best safety practice.
The Civil Aviation Bill is a once in a generation opportunity to thoroughly review the legislation and to make the changes required of us as a responsible nation and a fully participating member of ICAO.
In his speech to Conference, the Minister also acknowledged how vital it is to the industry to have a stable pilot workforce. As we have previously reported, progress on the issue of pilot supply and tertiary funding has been slow, with a reluctance by the Minister of Education to even accept that there is a funding problem.
It was pleasing to hear that the Minister of Transport has raised this issue with the Minister of Education and says he will continue to represent NZALPA’s concerns.
NZALPA will of course also continue to work with Aviation NZ to advocate for necessary change.
<< Upfront with NZALPA President Auspicious news, MPs open the NZALPA 2019 Conference and AGM >>