Union gobsmacked by Air New Zealand's brazenness

15 October, 2013

It defies belief that Air New Zealand is applying to employ aircraft engineers from overseas, only a week after its subsidiary Safe Air announced that it has to let 69 workers go and it proposes to lay another 190 off in Auckland due to a lack of work, says the Engineering, Printing and Manufacturing Union.

The EPMU was asked to give feedback on Air New Zealand’s application for Employer Accreditation by the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment.

“We’re absolutely stunned by Air New Zealand’s actions,” says Strachan Crang, EPMU Assistant Director of Organising.  “Kiwi aircraft engineers are losing their jobs, and Air New Zealand has the gall to tell MBIE that they need to be able to fast-track immigration for overseas workers.”

“If Air New Zealand were to get this approval it would create a mockery of the Employer Accreditation status programme,” says Strachan Crang. “The accreditation process wasn’t created so companies could sack workers one day and then bring in overseas workers the next.”

The Employer Accreditation scheme is run by Immigration New Zealand.  It is open to New Zealand employers who are unable to find “suitably qualified and/or experienced” New Zealand workers.  One of the key requirements for accreditation is that an organisation shows “a commitment to training and employing New Zealand residents”.

“Clearly Air New Zealand is not committed to employing New Zealanders,” says Strachan Crang. 

The EPMU also recently opposed an application from Airwork Holdings LTD, another New Zealand aircraft engineering business, to bring in overseas labour, because there is not a shortage of aircraft engineers in New Zealand.

“Air New Zealand and Airwork should do the right thing and offer work to Kiwi aircraft engineers who need jobs.”


Aircraft Engineering Job losses in past 12 months


  1. Christchurch Engine Centre (CEC) is a joint venture between Air NZ and Pratt and Whitney and overhaul jet turbine engines in Christchurch. At the end of last year CEC made approximately 40 roles redundant. The roles included aircraft engineers, design engineers, planners and management
  2. Safe Air, a fully owned subsidiary of Air New Zealand which is based in Blenheim and relies solely on contract work, is currently restructuring its business in order to respond to market changes. Safe Air announced in June this year that it intends to gradually downsize its business by 69 engineering roles by September next year. The roles include aircraft engineers, design engineers, planners and management. 
  3. Air NZ Technical Operations, Air NZ’s engineering division, announced in August that it intends to close its Wide Body Heavy Maintenance Production Line in Auckland next year with the loss of 180 roles. That figure has now climbed to 189.





For more information contact:

Strachan Crang, EPMU assistant director of organising: 027 590 0049
Stephanie Rodgers, EPMU communications officer: 022 269 1170