News Video | Policy | GPs | Hospitals | Medical | Mental Health | Welfare | Search


International Pilot Union Welcome NZ Cockpit Move

Pilots Union Applauds New Zealand Action Barring Misuse Of Accident Data

The head of the union representing most airline pilots in the U.S. has welcomed the vote taken yesterday by New Zealand's parliament to bar government from using certain data gathered in accident investigations.

"The action by parliament was preceded by an exhaustive public debate on the issue. The legislators and citizens of New Zealand are to be congratulated for coming to the conclusion that civil rights and protections against self-incrimination extend to the cockpits of commercial airliners," said Captain Duane Woerth, president of the Air Line Pilots Association, International.

The dispute dates back to the June 1995 crash of an Ansett DHC-8 (Dash-8) aircraft near Palmerston North. Four people lost their lives, and others were seriously injured. Police sought access to the aircraft's CVR, for evidential purposes and possible prosecution. The Transport Accident Investigation Commission (TAIC) declined to release the CVR, and in 1997 the Court of Appeal eventually determined that the provisions of the Chicago Convention protecting CVRs were not part of New Zealand law, after which the police obtained the Ansett CVR by search warrant. This prompted a cry of protest from pilots organizations around the world.

"From the very beginning, it was well understood by all parties that CVRs are to be used exclusively for accident investigation. Airline pilots agreed to their use only because they can be a tremendously effective tool in determining the causes of accidents. Given certain guarantees of privacy and civil rights, we felt that the benefits outweighed the costs," Woerth said.

"However, pilots have had to be extremely vigilant in protecting this compromise. First, we have had to withstand numerous attempts by the news media to get access to these tapes in order to sensationalize their stories.

With the Ansett crash, though, we were confronted with an even greater threat. In an otherwise highly democratic and open society, government authorities were taking these tapes and using them as evidence in a criminal investigation. In support of our brother pilots in New Zealand, the U.S. ALPA and the International Federation of Air Line Pilots Associations interceded to explain the history and uses of CVRs," Woerth said.

"The parliament agreed with our assessment. The vote effectively precludes the possibility that CVR tapes or transcripts will be used for such purposes in New Zealand. On the other hand, the prohibition does not protect a pilot from prosecution for offenses. It merely precludes introduction of the CVR contents as evidence," he said. ALPA represents 55,000 airline pilots at 53 airlines in the U.S. and Canada.


© Scoop Media

Culture Headlines | Health Headlines | Education Headlines

At Bats: Locke - The World Theatrical Premiere

On the eve of the biggest challenge of his career, Ivan Locke receives a phone call that sets in motion a series of events that will unravel his family, job and soul... More>>

Other Elections: Kea Crowned Bird Of The Year

These large, green mountain parrots are known for their curiosity and intelligence. Once numbering in the hundreds of thousands, they are now classified as Nationally Endangered with just 3,000 - 7,000 birds remaining. More>>


Howard Davis Review: Conflict & Resistance - Ria Hall's Rules of Engagement

From the aftermath of war through colonisation to her own personal convictions, Hall's new CD addresses current issues and social problems on multiple levels, confirming her position as a polemical and preeminent voice on the indigenous NZ music scene. More>>

Howard Davis Review: Another Time, Another Place - David Friesen Trio Live

"It has been said of David Friesen that he does for the art of bass playing what Pythagoras did for the triangle" - Patrick Hinley, Jazz Times. More>>

Howard Davis Review: Blade Runner Redivivus

When Ridley Scott's innovative, neo-noir, sci-fi flick Blade Runner was originally released in 1982, at a cost of over $45 million, it was a commercial bomb. More>>

Howard Davis Review: The Father - Descending Into The Depths of Dementia

Florian Zeller's dazzling drama The Father explores the effects of a deeply unsettling illness that affects 62,000 Kiwis, a number expected to grow to 102,000 by 2030. More>>