National Conference Highlights

This years conference was held in Palmerston North 26-28 November. For members information, there are 19 locals around the country and each local is entitled to send a representative, generally the Secretary. The conference is also attended by the 3 branch committee’s (Northern, Central and Southern) and the Branchs’ 3 officials. The President, Vice President and Secretary were also in attendance making the number attending the conference 31.

Wellington was well represented by Vice President National, John Devereux, Central Branch Vice President Rob Hutchison and Wellington Local Secretary Ian Wright.

At 1230 hrs 26/11 conference opened. Formalities were dealt with and Derek Best introduced our guest for the conference as being Tony Drewet Secretary Western Branch, UFU of Australia. Derek Best gave his annual report on the years activities, which won’t be elaborated on here for obvious reasons. A copy can be obtained from the secretary direct.

Discussion moved onto financial and the books were discussed and passed. Again, get a copy from the Secretary. Union fees were discussed at length and it was resolved that fees remain at the current rate but revisable at next years conference.

After Lunch Roger Wyatt (super Scheme) gave a talk on the last years scheme performance and predicted future performance, where he was professionally guarded.
Mike McEnaney was re-installed as a Union trustee on the scheme. Ken Simons’ position as a trustee was discussed due to him leaving the service and it was decided that he shall remain intact until his term expires next year (his funds remain in the super). It was impressed upon delegates to actively encourage new members to join the super scheme as soon as possible. An interesting point was raised when the fund is called on to make payment upon death of a member. There is a 6-month stand-down period due to a requirement in the Property Relations Act whereby the fund has to be certain that there will be only 1 claim upon the fund. Otherwise the fund itself is liable for any claim post payment.

Day 2 started with a report from J Devereux regarding the Union Compensation Insurance Scheme (whereby for less than 3 dollars a week you get permanent disability and loss of life payouts). The scheme is not that healthy and new members are required and all members are asked to canvass new staff and get them into this scheme. Pamphlets will be circulated ASAP.

Jeff McCulloch Auckland VP also sits on the protective clothing committee gave a description of proceedings re the new uniform and the proposed trial about to be undertaken in Wanganui and Tauranga. He expressed concern at the way the questionnaire was presented to members re the new station wear. The way it was worded didn’t give any choices other than what was presented on the questionnaire. Jeff in particular asked that all members report all problems they have with the Lion level 2 equipment to him personally.

Julie Barber, National Manager, Injury and Rehabilitation gave a presentation on her job and the progress of the partnership program with ACC and members entitlements when
off duty on WA or NWA.

National Commander/CEO Mike Hall addressed conference with a PowerPoint presentation that he has presented to all Regional Commanders. This was basically the direction he wants to take the service. He then underwent a fairly vigorous question and answer time from delegates.

Day 3 began with an address from UFU Delegate Tony Drewet. He outlined the size and structure of their operation both Operationally and union wise. Interesting to note that for 900 members they have 2 full time paid union officials, 1 who looks after operational aspects and 1 who looks after policy and administration of the union branch. It was particularly interesting to hear that problems of the 2 unions and their members are very closely related and he gave good insights into remedying present and future threats.
They run a similar super scheme and members wives can contribute to their own scheme as well. The Fire Service over there pays a 1% Disablement payment into a fund whereby those injured and unable to continue to be a paid FF get their super payout topped up to equal to 30 years service.

Remits were next on the list and my apologies to the Wellington Movers and Seconder’s. Remits were supposed to be addressed at the Local AGM and as a quorum was not reached we were unable to discuss and vote so that we could forward the remits to the National Secretary. We have reviewed our process and will make changes accordingly next year. Derek Best Made a good point to delegates that when considering remits for conference, they should be limited to policy issues and not claims for more pay or allowances. These claims can just be forwarded to Derek Best for consideration by the National Committee so that members should not have to wait a year till conference. There were in excess of 13 remits and the National Secretary Will promulgate these soon as I have gone on too long already.

Changes to the Union rules were discussed with the major outcome being the variety of ways the Union can discipline members for a variety of reasons. These will I’m sure be promulgated very soon.

Conference closed approx 1230 hrs 28 November 2002

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