Pay and Conditions in New Zealand

What's a job in helicopters pay? Does it pay? Why do you get paid more than me?
Jimmy
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Pay and Conditions in New Zealand

Postby Jimmy » Sat Mar 13 2010, 03:07

Just curious to know what the Pay and conditions are like for helicopter pilots in NZ. Has anyone got any info?
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Re: Pay and Conditions in New Zealand

Postby AgRattler » Sat Mar 13 2010, 03:28

One word S..T! Pay rubbish here in NZ thats why all the boys are in PNG and the like.
What type of work you looking at?
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Re: Pay and Conditions in New Zealand

Postby Jimmy » Sat Mar 13 2010, 04:00

I suppose I would like to get an idea of what these jobs are paying over there.
General utility pilot/charter/sling etc. and instructing
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Re: Pay and Conditions in New Zealand

Postby Evil Twin » Sun Mar 14 2010, 01:39

This should really go under the Jokes thread surely
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Re: Pay and Conditions in New Zealand

Postby skypig » Sun Mar 14 2010, 05:17

My 2 cents worth (Even a Kiwi EMS operator could afford my opinion at that rate.)

I understand some of the senior pilots on glacier type tourist ops get payed ok. Maybe a little better than tourist ops in OZ.

One EMS operation, AA, has pay and a roster on the same planet as OZ. Most of the others run rosters that CASA wouldn’t allow and pilots wouldn’t consider. Oc:=

I know very little about utility ops, but think the money varies wildly.

Any country that allows pilots an instructor rating straight off a CPL (everywhere but OZ?) has low paid instructors. :oops: :( :oops:

Some people will still falsely claim that NZ has a lower cost of living than OZ. From experience I believe the opposite is true. At best you can live at the same level in NZ on $NZ”X” as in AU on $A”X”, at best. :oops:

Skypeg 8) 8)
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Re: Pay and Conditions in New Zealand

Postby Big Beres » Sun Mar 14 2010, 23:55

I feel your pain Skypig, but you already knew that!! :too_cool: :D
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Re: Pay and Conditions in New Zealand

Postby k1w1phil » Fri Sep 30 2011, 03:06

Jimmy wrote:Just curious to know what the Pay and conditions are like for helicopter pilots in NZ. Has anyone got any info?

Hi Jimmy,

Simply put, just do not bother, NZ is a nice place to live but a sh^t of a place to make a living, prices sky high and wages low. Don't know your age or experience but it could prove expensive for you and yours and if you have to sell up to move it's a one way trip as you will probably loose money on real estate and never re coup.

Phil
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Re: Pay and Conditions in New Zealand

Postby Sideshow » Fri Sep 30 2011, 03:45

Well said k1w1phill.

I am from NZ and its not just pilots who get paid garbage the whole country is in the F@#Kin stone age when it comes to pay and conditions. It doesnt matter how much experience you have in any industry your still going to get paid half (YES HALF) of what you would be getting in Aus, Canada, PNG, the US, the UK, Indo, the list goes on.

20% of New Zealands population lives over seas for a reason, that reason is the government has run the country into the ground to make the country a good place to live for all the old bastards (55 plus) who are the majority of the vote (and own 95 percent of the countrys wealth). NZ is turning into the worlds biggest retirement village. I'd like to see the stats on the average age of a Kiwi livin in NZ. I dont know anyone under the age of 40 dumb enough to work for 40,000 New Zealand Pesos a year.

Also the cost of living in NZ is the same as Australia and Canada.

Anyway if you want to move to New Zealand just move to tassie and use your imagination unless you want to drive a 1984 toyota corolla and eat toast and marmite 3 meals a day for the rest of your life.

NEW ZEALAND SUCKS
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Re: Pay and Conditions in New Zealand

Postby muppet » Fri Sep 30 2011, 10:42

Now listen here! I am not going to stand idly by and let you all slag off at the NZ helicopter industry, no way! Instead, I am going to join you and support pretty much everything that has been said here and what Sideshow summed up. Skypig was right, there are a couple of operators who pay well, he referred to a particular rescue outfit in Auckland (which by all accounts is a great operator) but there are not that many more with decent pay and decent/safe rosters. The entire country operates on a concept that once upon a time may have worked, but now is outdated due to its one-sided nature.... I refer to the 'volunteer' ethic. This may have worked in the sixties, when everyone helped each other out, but in modern times there are far too many takers vs givers. The health care system pays peanuts. Ambulance staff are often unpaid 'volunteers'. Rural fire crews are 'volunteers'. Anyone in palliative care may as well be a 'volunteer' for what they are paid. yada yada yada... Little wonder that helicopter pilots are paid pittance... Because they can be. (Add in very limited options. eg Probably only 3 ATPL operators in the whole country!) Future oil may offer some hope to chopper income, but esentially the country is broke. Operators can't charge enough cos nobody wants to pay, so pilots get nothing. Wages in general are significantly lower than in Aussie. This is an ongoing theme in NZ, catching up with Aussie. (I pay staff in Aussie about 50% more than their NZ counterparts, doing a similar job. This is non-aviation so don't blame me for the low chopper pay!!) But any catch-up ain't gonna happen so if you are smart, stay away and work for someone who will pay you what you are worth!!!

ps Evil Twin - Nice post, joke thread indeed! he he
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Re: Pay and Conditions in New Zealand

Postby kiwiflyer » Fri Sep 30 2011, 20:54

I agree with most of what has been said but there is one comment about operators are not making enough money to pay good wages.
Yep a lot are not making enough to pay good wages but one would probably not want to be working for this type of outfit anyway.
But there are heaps of operations making a very handsome profit from what they do but still pay crap wages, because they can (as already stated earlier).
As a employee of a helicopter company we always hear about how much things cost bla bla bla, but never hear about the money coming in, seems thats always never talked about.
NZ helicopter operators on a whole are stingy, but not all of them there are a hand full of good ones out there that pride themselves on staff retention and paying a fair wage and in some cases a very generous wage, generous enough to bring pilots back from overseas work.
These operators are the bright ones in my books as they get the benefits from the training they have put into that person.
The cheap skates are just a stepping stone for some one to gain experience at there expense and when said experience levels are such they leave for a job else where that pays a decent wage and the operator is again employing a low time pilot to learn, but he is getting a bargain as he is not paying him a cent more than he has too.

Just my 2 cents worth (cant afford any more than that)
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Re: Pay and Conditions in New Zealand

Postby SuperF » Fri Sep 30 2011, 23:13

I agree that wages aren't the best in NZ, however, I would love to find where all the operators are that are making'a very handsome profit'. In fact if you can tell me exactly where they are, I'll give you a JR, set up a base there, and we can go halves in the profit.

The problem in NZ is that is wot everyone does..... They see someone flying heaps and equate, hrs with turnover, and turnover with profit. It's generally not until about midnight after quite a few beers that the stories about how tight it is come out.

Remember that just because a helicopter is flying does not mean it is making money, if it was that easy, why have so many got out over the last few years? I know of at least 4 guys who have got out of operating light turbines to go and work in PNG and they are now bringing in more money than they were as an owner/operator...

Remember in your calculations on the profit an operator makes that you have to include a return on investment, that means if you have $1-2 million invested in a helicopter business, then after all your expenses, including paying yourself $120,000 pa or whatever you think you need to live, that you need to make at least 10% return, in such a high risk and unstable game as helicopters you should be aiming for 20+% return on investment, otherwise, stick your $$$$ into a commercial building in Auckland or Sydney, take an 8-10% return guaranteed for 6-12 years, and go work for some other helicopter operator to get your $10-15k/month.

As sky pig says I think that $ for $ living is about the same, a $100k income and lifestyle in NZ equates to roughly a $100k income and lifestyle in OZ.

What do you guys think a pilot should get paid, to be getting a fair income?
Say starting out, then 1000hrs, of ag or utility work, compared to scenics, or instructing, etc, then at say 5000 hrs same type of jobs, or should there no difference in different types of ops? Also looking on ther threads, doesn't look like they are doing it much bettr in OZ until you get more specialized, into mediums, or the heavy metal, so can't see how NZ is any worse... Just less opportunity to move up.
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Re: Pay and Conditions in New Zealand

Postby waterstrider » Fri Sep 30 2011, 23:30

MONEY!
It seems to be all you aussies talk about. Yea I am well aware that the pay is substantially less on this side of the ditch, but living is cheaper (24 pack in oz is around $40AU, here $30NZ, in fact its cheaper to buy aussie beer here than there, I reference beer because thats what most spend money on).
But what were you all thinking when you decided to dish out 10s of thousands of $ for a qualification when other qualifications would pay far more for less training. I myself didn't get into this industry for the money, your an idiot if you did and shouldn't be flying. With the risk of sounding like a tosser I got into because I have a passion for choppers and flying (and flying a slab wing would make me one).
I get to fly over here in a changing and challenging environment that actually has scenery, I'm not steering by compass around a dried up old flat rock. I live in NZ for the lifestyle and the pies.
So don't go slagging off New Zealand just because the pay is less. We are a country of only 4 million tops so what do you expect, but we still manage to give you aussies a run for your money. 3 Kiwi league teams in the finals tomorrow, and league is a minority sport here. And for that 20% who have invaded Oz and given up on NZ, you can have them. (Quade Cooper included, although we will take Benji Marshall and you can have Sonny Bill back)
If you want a large bank balance in life, sure stay in Oz, but if you want quality flight hours and an adventure then NZ.
Well thats my early morning rant over with, there are two sides to this story and everyone is entitled to their own opinion which is fair.

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Re: Pay and Conditions in New Zealand

Postby aaron » Fri Sep 30 2011, 23:56

I think the main drawcard for low hour kiwi pilots to Oz is theres more of an oportunity to make a start as a low hour pilot than in NZ.
More operators willing to take a newbie on. The $$ come as a bonus to employment.
Flight conditions and experiences in NZ are awesome, getting to fly through valleys and gulleys low level below clouds to get to the other side of the ranges are fantastic, and a good experience.
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Re: Pay and Conditions in New Zealand

Postby kiwiflyer » Fri Sep 30 2011, 23:57

Super F sounds like you might be one of those owner operator blokes.
I don't judge how well a company is doing by how much they fly, as you said just because a company fly's a lot of hrs doesn't mean they are doing well, in fact it prob means the opposite as there hourly rate is probably the lowest.
I am no accountant but if a company is replacing vehicles and helicopters on a regular basis with new gear and bigger and better things and pays there staff well the funds have to come from somewhere and obviously must be making money to do so.
Remember its not a crime to make a profit, and the JR plan and split the profits is exactly why the helicopter industry is poked in NZ, someone sees someone else doing ok and comes in and undercuts them and stuffs it for everyone, but any hows seems to be the way of it, why i chose to earn my income elsewhere.
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Re: Pay and Conditions in New Zealand

Postby 369JH » Sat Oct 1 2011, 00:16

my only comment is no matter when you got your CPL be it last week, last year or last century noboby promised you that you were gonna make millions and retire filty rich, all the advice I've had is you've gotta do it because you're passionate about helicopters and flying. I wouldn't dare say the money doesn't matter, but just don't think it can be the highest priority, if its that bad go back to the trade you were told to get when your medical fails, I'll take the job flying :wink:
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Re: Pay and Conditions in New Zealand

Postby SuperF » Sat Oct 1 2011, 00:27

Hi kiwiflyer, u picked me in one.

But I had it easy, so everyone keeps telling me. I'll tell you all about it if we ever meet. I find that a lot of the new gear in NZ comes from dads farm, or the wife's family money, and they all fall in love with the glamour of the industry. I know of at least 20 operators in NZ that are burning their way through the family fortune before their brothers or sisters can get it, and at least 3 have tanked in the last couple of years.

There are also a few, probably clever guys, that have some guy that wants to own a helicopter and they get to operate it and he uses it when needed. You might be surprised with the number of operators in NZ that are slowly, or rapidly turning a big fortune into a small fortune by burning Jet or Av gas. Helicopters are more efficient at it than race cars, or boats, and we know that they are expensive things.

From 2000 to about 2008 you could actually upgrade your AS350 relatively cheaply by pre ordering it, and not having to pay for a few years. You could then sell it green from the factory at today's price, which was higher than what you needed to pay to get it. Caught a few people out when the world economy fell over... But was a great way to make $$$,000. Also the insurance companies actually have funded a lot of newer gear in NZ, and guys have upgraded in the process.
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Re: Pay and Conditions in New Zealand

Postby SuperF » Sat Oct 1 2011, 00:32

I'm in it for the money as an operator, and the enjoyment as a pilot. :D

But nowhere did anyone tell me how much f&$ken paperwork I would have to do... Oc:=
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Re: Pay and Conditions in New Zealand

Postby skypig » Sat Oct 1 2011, 04:25

“....living is cheaper (24 pack in oz is around $40AU, here $30NZ, in fact its cheaper to buy aussie beer here than there, I reference beer because thats what most spend money on).”



I was on over NZ$100K/year, and condoms were sending me broke, twice the price of Aussie. (and don’t forget: NZ “Large”, is Aussie “Medium”) :wink:
I miss the Speight’s “Old Dark”, the “Beach Hop”, and Paeroa “Battle of the Streets”. :(
OK so maybe it was bikes and petrol that were sending me broke. :P

Sky "An Aussie that would move to NZ {again} in a Heartbeat" Pig 8) 8)
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Re: Pay and Conditions in New Zealand

Postby SLFMS » Sat Oct 1 2011, 07:18

Hi All

I rarely post but couldn't help myself on this one. As a Kiwi which has worked in NZ but now works in Aus I think I am qualified to at least 2 cents.
There is no denying it, as a Employee in Aviation NZ is a poor prospect. It is not just about the Money it is also about the Conditions as per the Thread title. In Australia I earn twice what I could in NZ. I currently fly a Medium IFR twin but have flown singles and that is no different if not worse. For me though it is not the pay (Although that is a big factor) but the conditions that are the deciding factor in not working in NZ. While getting paid twice as much as in NZ (that's not even taking into account the exchange rate) I do half the work. My roster is issued in advance and can not be changed without my agreement. If I do work on a non rostered day I am compensated with a generous casual rate. My employer still likes to own me (the same as any where in the world) ,but with a solid contract and good union laws they only get a arm and a leg not everything like in NZ.
I do find it interesting the reasons people think that the rates are so much poorer and do have to disagree with most of them and would like to comment on a couple of them. Please keep in mind this is my opinion only and I respect the right of anybody else to have there own.
SuperF I agree that many operators are struggling but for my first Job in Auckland I earned $9500 but I was required to be at work 7 days a week working up to 12 hours a day. Whilst struggling to survive my Boss would turn up in a New Porsche or Merc every 6 months. He then would squander his money on crap and trips, he ended up going out of business. I can not tell you how frustrating that was but at the time I had no hours or options on where to go. I find it interesting that you say a Owner will pay himself $120000 a year and may not have anything left for the employees. This is the reverse of any small business that I know of. Normally the owner has to pay x dollars (say as a plumber) If they then have a quite month the employee still gets that rate and the boss is out of pocket. Many small business owners pay their employees more than they end up getting (why you would want to stay in business is a different discussion). The reality is if you can not afford to pay yourself and your employee's your business model is not working.
Sideshow I understand your frustration but to say NZ sucks is very harsh. I assume you have been raised in NZ and had all the benefits of a great country, perhaps even a student loan? I would not work in Aviation unless there are some massive changes there but I still think NZ is a fantastic country. As they say if you don't like it you can always leave. Perhaps you already have.
Waterstrider I respect you thoughts on not working for only for money and agree if any of us really wanted to money we would be in a different industry. When I started my training I went in eyes wide open on the conditions and what I was getting myself in for, I didn't care about the money at all. That was good for me in my early 20's but not so good now. Finacial sercurity, the ability to own my own home and afford play things are now just as important as the type of work I do, not to mention having to support a family. It sounds like you have found your balance which is all that really matters! For your interest the flying in Aus is very varied and can be very challenging. Sure they don't have the Southern Alps but 5000ft at 30 deg oat is performance limited. I assure you they do have low cloud and valleys to fly through here.
People say that the industry is so bad because of student loans. I don't think that is the case there are sausage factory's for students in Aus just the same as in NZ pumping out large numbers of CPL's of which the majority will frame and put on the wall never to use again. As a ex instructor I saw about the same % of students go on to paid work in both country's.
Also there is the argument about Operators undercutting each other, with pilot's wages been first on the chopping block. I assure you the same happens in Australia and there are many threads on this site talking about that.
I believe the problem with NZ wages and conditions is that there needs to be at least two large offshore companies. In Aus you have CHC, Bristow,until recently Jayrow and other's competing to get pilots, this has raised wages and conditions to retain people. This then has a flow on effect to smaller companies because they have to also raise wage's and conditions or their best pilots go Offshore. In NZ if you want to work offshore and live in country your only choice is HNZ and they know it.
I also believe there is a problem with supply, there are just too many pilots with plenty of experience willing to work for a pitance. You can't blame them they have no choice if they wish to work in country. You might not take that job but it means nothing if the next guy does. Either Demand has to go up, or supply go down simple economics.
If you dont like the wages don't work there. That's why I work in Aus. NZ is a fantastic country I will always call home but Australia is also a fantastic country that I am proud to work and live in and probably will for the rest of my Career.
That is probably 4 cents worth, lucky for me I can afford it!!
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Re: Pay and Conditions in New Zealand

Postby SuperF » Sat Oct 1 2011, 12:14

Hi slmfs

Wen I said the owner pays himself $120,000, I was meaning if you want to work out your profit, then first you need to take a realistic CEO/ chief pilot salary out, then work your profit %. Believe me I know all about paying the wages, then the creditors and having nothing to take home, it can happen in every small business.

You are right, we do only have HNZ as a big offshore crowd, unfortunately there are too many owner/operators, or two ship operators that keep the rates too low. The tamper proof hour recorders that are being introduced will help a bit, but a lot of guys don't understand business, and don't think that they need a return on investment...

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