Queensland police launch recruitment campaign to poach Kiwi cops

Queensland Police have launched a recruitment campaign aimed at poaching Kiwi officers, with the promise of better weather and pay as well as an AU$20,000 (NZ$21,555) relocation bonus.

In a full-page advertisement appearing in the New Zealand Herald on Tuesday, authorised by the State Government, it urged Kiwi cops to swap the "chilly winds for a chilly bin on the beach in Queensland". 

“The Queensland Police Service is offering very attractive incentives for experienced police to make the move and enjoy a rewarding career in the Sunshine State," the advertisement read.  

"For a limited time, experienced officers are eligible to apply for a resettlement bonus of up to AU$20,000 to assist with relocating to Queensland. 

"Enjoy the great lifestyle of policing in paradise at one of our coastal cities, rural towns or vibrant metropolitan locations. Our police recruits are also among the highest paid in Australia and New Zealand, receiving extensive training and support along the way."

The tagline 'warmer days and high pays' was deliberately launched in the midst of New Zealand’s frosty winter, according to the Queensland Police website.  

Queensland police launch recruitment campaign to poach Kiwi cops
Photo credit: Newshub

Queensland Police Acting Superintendent Renee Kurtz told AM on Tuesday the reason they're recruiting New Zealand officers is because they're highly qualified and trained. 

"Why wouldn't you want to come to Queensland? It's a lovely 26 degrees here in Townsville today, so why wouldn't you want to come for the sunny days with your chilly bins?" 

She told AM New Zealand isn't the only place they're trying to recruit. Queensland police are also targeting officers throughout Australia and other countries including Canada and the UK in a major recruitment drive. 

Kurtz said the State Government is paying for this recruitment campaign as part of its pledge to provide an additional 2025 police personnel by 2025. 

"We have many, many Kiwi cops with us and we have had this relationship for many, many years," she said. 

"This is not a new thing and we always encourage not just New Zealand police but domestic people who have no policing experience to come and join us if they have the desire to serve the community and also wear the suit of blue."

Queensland Police Acting Superintendent Renee Kurtz.
Queensland Police Acting Superintendent Renee Kurtz. Photo credit: AM

According to the New Zealand Police website, an officer in training would receive $56,219 rising to $81,710 in their first year. An officer working in their fifth year would receive $93,268. 

For any Kiwi cops looking at taking up this offer, the good news - or bad news for New Zealand - is the starting wage for a first-year constable is much higher in Queensland. 

"So the starting wage for a first-year constable is AU$98,000 (NZD$105,543). But if they are skilled New Zealand police, we will recognise some of their service and their rank up to the rank of Senior Constable and also with the added $20,000 relocation, that obviously buffers them up," she said. 

She told AM Kiwi cops will also be able to access fast-tracked training which would see them on the frontline in Queensland sooner.

"They also have to participate in a four-month training course just to make sure that they're aware of the legislation and Queensland policies and we will pay them to train during that time as well," she said.  

But not all Kiwis were sold on the move across the ditch, with some AM viewers saying the weather isn't as good as it's being made out to be. 

"I spent time in Townsville, what the police interview didn't tell you is the summer is long, sticky and uncomfortable. One dashes from air-conditioned house to air-conditioned car to air-conditioned mall. It's so, so hot for months on end of sticky, clammy air, plus the fact everything bites particularly bull ants ruin your picnics," one viewer said. 

Another viewer said: "Our Government should be doing more to lift our rates of pay here so that they don't leave and go to Queensland." 

Another said: "Good grief, goodness me, please don't let our cops go to Queensland". 

The recruitment campaign comes at a time crime is a hot topic leading up to New Zealand's election in October. 

A Newshub-Reid Research poll revealed on Monday a clear majority of New Zealanders believed Labour was failing to get on top of the country's ram-raid problem. 

Prime Minister Chris Hipkins acknowledged there is heightened anxiety about crime but said the overall figures were still trending downwards.

Watch the full interview with Renee Kurtz in the video above.