29 Apr 2024

Police Association talk pay dispute, shift away from mental health callouts

From Nine To Noon, 9:05 am on 29 April 2024
Police in Wellington. Generic image

Photo: RNZ / Angus Dreaver

The police pay dispute is now in the hands of a third party, who will decide whether or not they should be earning more.

Negotiations between the Government and the Police Association reached a stalemate after union officers overwhelmingly rejected the last offer. By law, police are not allowed to take industrial action, so it's reached the point of a 'final offer arbitration' - where a mediator steps in to decide who to side with.

It comes right as Australia ramps up efforts to poach New Zealand officers. Police Minister Mark Mitchell estimates between 50-100 have gone over, though data which would give specifics is not collected. He is still adamant the Government can recruit 500 new officers in the first two years of this term, as promised.

The Government is also considering scaling back the role of police officers in mental health callouts, with suggestions to open a fourth option when people call 111, manned by a specialised first responders group. Police Association president Chris Cahill speaks with Kathryn Ryan.