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Risk of regional airport disruption unacceptable

Published 01 Sep 2009


The Government will introduce legislation to address the threat of regional airport control towers being closed and services unnecessarily disrupted, Minister of Labour Kate Wilkinson announced today.

The introduction of statutory rest and meal breaks created difficulties for some sectors in implementing the law, with the Airline Pilots Association (ALPA) unwilling to continue the flexible breaks system employed at regional airports.

"I had hoped that a sensible solution could be reached between ALPA and Airways Corporation but it's clear that this law is proving to be a sticking point.

"To not act would result in the cancellation of at least nine regional return flights a week and the risk of further schedule disruptions in New Plymouth, Gisborne, Napier and Rotorua," Ms Wilkinson says.

"Pharmacies, schools, meat works and sole attendant operations such as petrol stations have also all raised concerns on how to implement the law.

"Parliament certainly didn't intend for this law to create more problems than it solved.

"It would appear what was common sense in the past is no longer common sense under this legislation. The law is obviously too prescriptive to be workable and needs clarifying.

"I will introduce an Amendment Bill this month that intends to provide more flexibility around the taking of breaks."