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Police Association president Chris Cahill.

As the memory of a lazy holiday quickly fades and is overtaken by the priorities for 2023, I foresee a very busy and challenging year for the Police Association and the Police Welfare Fund.

The association’s year will be dominated by the Police employee and constabulary pay round negotiations and a general election in which law and order will be a key component of political debate.

In the pay round, we will be balancing a high inflation-high interest rate environment that is eroding the spending power of members against government wishes to curb spending to avoid fuelling inflationary wage increases. Such opposing positions will make negotiations tough, but the simple fact is members need to be able to pay their rent/mortgage, and that is increasingly difficult.

We will be conducting a pay round survey of all members before a March meeting with our pay round advisers.

On the election front, our “policy not party” stance will endure as we advocate for change that we consider of most benefit to members and the environment in which they work.

It’s election year so it will be overflowing with differing views. Te Aka Hāpai will comment on policies as they relate to our members, and we are well positioned to provide “real world” implications when needed. It is important we look past obvious poll-driven policies and do all we can to ensure meaningful, workable legislation is enacted to create change for the better.

This year also has the potential to be a milestone for our Police Welfare Fund as we work through two significant projects that will have long-term benefits for members. The first is the project to implement a modern, user-friendly, cloud-based Police Health Plan administration system. This will greatly enhance the member experience while ensuring we can manage the PHP in a manner that ensures its integrity and sustainability.

The second, while still subject to Reserve Bank approval, is to manage the Police Group Life Insurance scheme in-house with outsourced underwriting and reinsurance. We believe this will enable us to have better control of costs, and, in the long term, enable us to increase members’ cover through better control over premium pricing. It is a complex piece of work that we will rigorously test to ensure it is the best option for members in the future. We are mindful of the very positive, valued relationship we have had with AIA for many years and will not proceed with this change unless we can clearly identify benefits for members.

Fundamental to my confidence for these various challenges ahead is the quality and values of the staff working across our organisation. They totally believe their role is to enhance the wellbeing of our members and their families. In turn, they are supported by the many association reps who volunteer across Police and throughout the country and remain the backbone of our organisation.

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