NZSA Covid-19 Security Update: Government release – boosting security support at MIQFs and maritime border

As many of you will be aware, the Government yesterday announced measures that will see Defense Force personnel deployed to the managed isolation and quarantine facilities to take over a number of functions currently provided by private security staff. The announcement also stated they would move to a model of direct employment of security guards (through MBIE) with appropriate training and will be paying them the living wage (see media statement below).

We appreciate that only a relatively small number of guarding providers are directly impacted however given the widespread press coverage and questionable commentary on the capability of the security industry we thought it appropriate to provide an update on the current situation.

We are extremely disappointed with yesterdays announcement given that we had been given assurances that the proposed changes had been placed on hold and that the expectation was business as usual for security staff. We only became aware of the proposed changes on Monday of this week and had raised our concerns directly with our ministerial contacts, particularly around the impact on staff employment with some 600 staff involved in servicing the managed isolation facilities nationally.

The announcement raises a number of concerns with regards to how the plans will be enacted and the resulting impact on security providers and their staff. It also fails to recognise that many of the staff working on these sites are already being paid the living wage and are engaged in industry Level 3 training.

We are currently in communication with senior MBIE officials who are overseeing the government operations and they have committed to working closely with the NZSA and the individual providers going forward. MBIE themselves are currently seeking clarification from Government on a number of matters so there may well be changes to what has been communicated to date.

Please rest assured that we are lobbying hard on behalf of the industry, and our workers, and that we will provide communication updates as soon as we have them.

Keep safe.

From the NZSA team.

Hon Dr Megan Woods_media statement_19 Aug 2020