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Not surprisingly, Queenstown is one of the Police Association’s most popular destinations, especially in winter. Photo: LAWRENCE MURRAY

How Holiday Home ballots work

We all know how popular the Police Association’s Holiday Home network is. That’s why, several years ago, the ballot system for bookings was introduced to ensure the process was as fair as possible. Here, we explain how the system works so you have the best chance of securing a booking during popular times.

Ballots are used to organise bookings for popular times such as Christmas, Easter and winter holidays and significant annual events such as the Napier Art Deco Weekend, the Whangamatā Beach Hop, Womad in New Plymouth and the Taupō round-the-lake cycle race.

Only serving members who belong to the Welfare Fund are eligible to enter the ballots, which open between four and five months out from the relevant time periods (for example, the 2019/2020 Christmas/New Year ballot opened in July) and run for four weeks.

Ballot entries are made through the Police Association’s website and you must be logged in to enter the Holiday Accommodation portal. You can enter your booking preference into a ballot at any time during the four-week period and, depending on the ballot you have chosen, there are options for submitting one, two or three entries. In the Christmas/New Year ballot, you can put in three entries, but for the Napier Art Deco Weekend, only one entry is possible.

The number of days you can request varies from three to seven, depending on the location and time of year.

The results are randomly generated by our membership computer system, and the winners are automatically notified by email the day after the ballot closes. If your entry is not successful, you automatically go on a waitlist to be notified by email when bookings become free.

When the ballots end, if there are still places available at more than five locations, a re-ballot option is sent to those who missed out in the first round, giving them the chance to enter the ballot again.

The winter ballot period is a long one, with dates at the most popular locations blocked from mid-July to mid-October (Queenstown and Wanaka), and during the two school holiday periods (Tūrangi and Tekapo). The Christmas/New Year ballot usually attracts more than 500 entries, the winter ballot about 300 and the Taupō motel units about 100.

The odds are not bad: for example, at Christmas, there are more than 300 vacancies, with only about 500 entries.

When you book any home, including through the ballot, the full amount must be paid upfront.

If you cancel more than three months out from the booking, you get a full refund. If you cancel less than three months out, you get no refund unless the dates are rebooked by another member. Note, however, that you are responsible for keeping an eye on the bookings, through the online portal, and for letting the Member Services Centre team know when a new booking has been made so you can get a refund.

MSC supervisor Florence Su’a reports that since new rules, including the upfront payments and cancellation policy, were introduced on May 1, there has been a noticeable decline in the number of advance bookings being made (and often cancelled), which were clogging up the system and preventing others from accessing the homes.

So, start planning for your next trip by visiting the Holiday Accommodation portal on our website. If you have any problems making bookings, or have any other queries, call the MSC team on 0800 500 122.

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