Kiwi cops lured by Aussie cash and lifestyle

By Andrew Koubaridis

Kiwi police are getting the call up...across the Tasman. But that hasn't impressed their union here. Photo / Thinkstock
Kiwi police are getting the call up...across the Tasman. But that hasn't impressed their union here. Photo / Thinkstock

New Zealand police are being offered big pay packets and promises of a better life as Australian states try to lure them across the Tasman.

The Northern Territory's police force is the latest to tempt Kiwis, and has interviewed about 30 applicants interested in moving.

Police Association president Greg O'Connor said other states and territories had tried to do the same thing in the past - but warned that those who made the move would not always find things were better.

And police bosses say leavers might find it difficult if they try to rejoin police in this country, mainly because of low attrition rates.

Mr O'Connor said: "Even if you do happen to be up in a nice place like the Gold Coast, it's pretty crime riddled there and the work is pretty tough."

He said many former New Zealand police in Australia were "less than complimentary of the conditions of working in Queensland police".

"It's the same thing with Northern Territory. Everyone who has been there knows it's Frontiersville."

His experience was that the police officers who were quite happy here and moved for a new, or better, experience were happy where they ended up. But for the others it was a different story.

"The ones who are leaving because they are not happy here, in my experience, will not be happy there. Because essentially they suddenly realise they are doing the same work and having the same issues that generally made them frustrated here."

Usually young staff were lost not long after they had been trained. "So it would be quite nice if we could get them back or we might be able to attract some Australians over here."

He said the association did not want to stand in the way of its members leaving but "we're pragmatic enough to know people getting away and working in another environment often makes them appreciate what they've got at home."

Police acting general manager of human resources Alan Cassidy said the recruiting drives were not new.

"I suppose the question external people would have is, is that a concern for us and probably the short answer is no."

That was largely due to police seeing "no evidence" that attrition rates were an issue. The rate over the past year was 3.2 per cent, below a historical average of 5.5-6 per cent.

The annual police staff engagement survey, released yesterday, revealed the highest rating question was staff saying they planned to continue working for the New Zealand police over the next two months.

Mr Cassidy said it was relatively common for police forces to target colleagues in other countries - New Zealand did so with British police a few years ago - and New Zealand officers had a good reputation internationally.

But he warned it would be difficult for those who did quit to return.

"There's no barrier that automatically precludes them from rejoining but they would come in under [the] rejoin policy and with our incredibly low attrition rate ... that would probably be difficult."

* Higher wages and benefits: NZ starting pay is $58,000, NT offers NZ$84,000
* Free housing
* Seven weeks' leave
* Lots of sun
* It's really big - officers could be expected to travel several hundred kilometres a day
* Higher taxes
* 6.5 hour flight from New Zealand
* Tropical climate is split into the rainy and dry seasons
* Crocodiles and snakes
Source: Police News

- NZ Herald

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