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Has NZ Arbor dropped the ball?

Richard Tregoweth - Thursday, May 24, 2012

Following last weeks NZ Arbor Education and Training Committee meeting in Wellington, kiwi tree climbers were rejoicing in the fact that, finally, a reference to SRT Ascent and SRT Work Positioning would be made in the latest edition of the industries' Best Practice Guideline.

SRT, particularly ascent, is widely used in the New Zealand work place so the whole thing made sense to all concerned.

The content of the E submission represented democracy in action.

Prior to the committee meeting in Wellington working arborists had been asked for input to the submission… and they had obliged.

The committee then collated and 'polished' the content for presentation to the BPG executive… where, supposedly it would be rubber stamped for approval.

Tree climbers could see the consultative principle behind the NZ Arbor Best Practice Guideline unfolding before their very eyes.

Unfortunately, the whole process tuned out to a short-lived democratic illusion.

Apparently the SRT content of the submission is too hot to handle.

As far as Treetools is aware any reference to SRT in the NZ Arbor BPG is now technically on hold (for up to 3 months - or just after the worlds in Portland - how convenient is that?).

The official word says the E & T Committee submission needs more work. And that might be so.

But anyone with half a brain will simply join the dots.

SRT (Ascent and Work Positioning) is a hot topic internationally. Check any tree climbing forum or Treetools blog posts on the subject over the last few months.

If NZ Arbor endorsed, or even accepted, the use of SRT Ascent and Work Positioning in an official document (the BPG), New Zealand could be seen to be breaking rank with ITCC policy… and that is not the done thing according to some.

There are two issues here which should be of concern to all kiwi aerial arborists.

First, the process for publishing content in the Best Practice Guideline appears to be questionable. If the E & T Committee submission gets vetoed because the subject matter is deemed 'politically incorrect' we are in trouble. Surely, the BPG should represent what is actually happening in the NZ workplace and provide direction on that.

Secondly, since when have the tree climbing competition rules provided the sole content for our Best Practice Guideline? Yes, the ITCC rule book offers valid guidance but its a sad day indeed when the tail starts wagging the dog.

SRT debate

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