The Eco Network is for members interested in building union activity around climate change and other environmental issues in their workplaces and beyond.
As a member led virtual network, we are here to help promote ideas, support member led activities, and tap into the expertise of the PSA membership on environmental issues.
We currently have over 1200 network members, and are in the process of establishing an informal network structure including leadership roles – ‘Eco Reps’.
Network purposes and goals
The purpose of the PSA Eco Network is to build union organisation to improve workplace sustainability, and contribute to global campaigning for environmental justice and action on climate change.
More specific goals are:
1. Promote the shift to more environmentally sustainable workplaces
2. Educate members and the public about the connections between environmental quality, economic health and social justice
3. Show leadership on workplace sustainability
4. Build union organisation
Your Eco network organiser
The activities of the network are supported by PSA Organiser, Susannah Bailey.
Susannah: "I’m excited to help grow the Eco Network, connect interested members, and progress shared goals". You can contact Susannah at firstname.lastname@example.org
We also have a group of non elected leaders called "Eco reps". To find out more about the role and who your local Eco Rep is check out the Eco Network Structure below.
Paul Cottam – Christchurch Regional Convenor
I work for the Christchurch City Council as a social policy advisor, with a strong focus on housing policy, as well as providing input into other projects such as climate change, and providing a social science perspective to briefing elected members on Long Term Plan submissions.
I’ve been involved more or less since the outset of the emerging network as an Eco Rep. Prior to that I’ve been a local government delegate both before and since our old union joined the PSA a few years ago.
For us to be effective, the climate crisis is about social and economic wellbeing and outcomes, with democratic participation and equity being paramount. Addressing poverty related issues is inevitably part of this challenge or we will not be successful. These are the issues that we need to bring to the forefront.
Individualized responses, whilst important, are not enough and by themselves sidestep the issue and perpetuate the growth orientated economy. Collective, joined up action is where the PSA can play a strong role. This is the approach we need to keep emphasising.
Grant Brookes – Wellington Regional Convenor
Ko Kapukataumahaka te māunga
Ko Ōwheo te awa
Ko Cornwall tōku waka
Ko Ngā Kaimahi o Te Ao tōku iwi
Nō Ōtepoti āhau
Ko Don rāua ko Helen ōku mātua
Ko Grant Brookes tōku ingoa.
Originally from Dunedin, I am descended from Scottish ancestors who arrived in 1849 aboard the Cornwall. I studied nursing by the Water of Leith which flows by the foot of Mount Cargill. The son of Don and Helen, my name is Grant Brookes.
Although perhaps best known among trade unionists as the immediate past President of NZNO, where I held the the role of spokesperson on climate change and health, my union activism began in the 1990s with the PSA. As a Mental Health Nurse in Auckland, I was active then as a PSA delegate at the local and national level. Since returning to clinical practice at Capital & Coast DHB in 2020, I have come back home to the union for mental health workers. I now hope to put my skills and experience in union leadership around climate change and other environmental issues at the service of my fellow PSA members.
Lesley Irving – North Island Regional Convenor
Bio coming soon.
Briar Wyatt – National Co-Convenor
In my day job, I work as a Senior Waste Planning Advisor at Auckland Council, with a particular focus on government relationships, equity, and climate change in the waste sector. Outside of paid work, I have been involved in the climate justice space since university, particularly through volunteering with the wonderful 350 Aotearoa (an organisation everyone should join!). I am a workplace delegate and see the Eco Network as playing a vital role in moving our union towards addressing climate change as a workers issue and calling for a Just Transition for all affected communities, including workers, in Aotearoa.
The PSA’s purpose is to build a union organisation able to influence the industrial, economic, political and social environment in order to advance the interests of PSA members. Those interests include achieving a sustainable future – something all of our members depend on. We also recognise that poor environmental outcomes are linked to unequal and unsustainable economic outcomes, which are directly linked to poor and unequal social outcomes.
One of the most serious issues currently impacting our planet is climate change. Climate change will affect not only our lives, but also our work. PSA members across the sectors (including those working in health, environmental services, primary industries, town planning, and civil defence) are planning for and will be directly grappling with changes brought on by increasingly severe extreme weather events and changing weather patterns. All public and community services, and workers, will need to adapt.
We know that for many of our members, climate change and other environmental issues are deeply felt concerns, and they want to see the PSA and other unions demonstrating leadership.
For some insights into the relevance of climate change to unions, check out this video from the 2018 Just Transitions Summit:
For more information on Just Transitions, see the Just Transitions tab.
The PSA Eco Network is currently an informal network with over 1,600 members.
In 2018 we created an informal structure for the network. We called for people to step up to unelected Eco Rep roles. These are network leaders, and we have welcomed anyone who has expressed an interest in the role. We currently have 19 Eco Reps.
We are creating a formal structure for the network with the following elected positions:
1) 2x National Convenors (at least one female)
2) Auckland Regional Convenor
3) Wellington Regional Convenor
4) Christchurch Regional Convenor
5) North Island Regional Convenor (outside Auckland/Wellington)
6) South Island Regional Convenor (outside Christchurch)
We will also have deputy convenors in each region, to stand in for each convenor as needed. These will be unelected roles.
In addition, we will continue to have unelected Eco Rep roles, that anyone can volunteer for to participate as a leader in the network. There will continue to be no cap on Eco Rep numbers.
Roles and responsibilities
- Represent PSA Eco Network members across the country
- Help to coordinate and support the regional convenors
- Build and maintain relationships with other areas of the union eg. the Executive Board, sector committees, Te Rūnanga, and other PSA Networks
- Represent PSA Eco Network members in the region (for the North Island and South Island convenors the region is the relevant island outside of the three main centres)
- Help to coordinate and support the PSA Eco Reps in their region
- Help to organise PSA Eco Network activities in their region
All convenors (in addition to the above)
- Attend monthly convenors teleconference and 6 monthly planning day (by VC)
- Help develop and implement the PSA Eco Network annual plan
- Contribute to communications to the network including newsletters and social media
- Provide feedback to the Executive Board and other areas of the union
- Input on PSA policy and practice
- Promote participation in the network
- Lead or participate in working groups on projects of interest
- Help to coordinate PSA Eco Network activities in your workplace
- Promote participation in the network
- Can participate in Eco Network activities and projects as willing and able
- Can step up to deputy convenor roles
Network leaders will be supported by the PSA Eco Network Organiser.
Want to become a leader?
We invite you to express your interest in one or more of the convenor roles. You can do so by emailing email@example.com with a paragraph or two about yourself and why you are interested in the role. Please get in touch by Friday 10 July with your expression of interest.
Please also get in touch if you are interested in becoming an Eco Rep or if you have any questions.
The convenor roles are two-year positions elected by the membership of the network. Voting will take place electronically. All Eco Network members will be invited to vote for the National Convenors as well as a regional convenor for their region.
Eco Reps are not elected roles and there is no cap on numbers.
Rationale for new structure
The rationale for these changes is to:
- Assist us in building a member-led structure for the network, with members helping to develop and coordinate plans, activities, network leaders and members across the country and in their region.
- Grow activity of the network including more local events and activities
- Provide formal leadership opportunities for network members
- Provide opportunities for members to get involved in the network in different ways
- Ensure that anyone who wants to step up to a leadership role still can, by still retaining unelected Eco Rep roles
- Differentiate between leadership roles within the PSA structure (convenors) and leadership roles in workplaces (Eco Reps)
- Elected group of convenors with clear accountabilities and responsibilities
- Ensure that the three main membership centres will have representation
- By creating two national convenor roles, share this work
- By ensuring that at least one of the two national convenors is female, help to ensure that female members are in leadership roles in our network.
Current Eco Network Convenor Contact Details:
Christchurch Regional Convenor
North Island Regional Convenor
Wellington Regional Convenor
In November 2020 PSA delegates and network representatives from around the country gathered in Wellington for PSA Congress. Taking place every two years, PSA Congress is the highest decision-making body of the PSA. Attendees are selected from across the five PSA sectors, Te Rūnanga, and the formal PSA networks. Members in attendance vote on remits, or rule changes, and elect the PSA President.
The PSA Eco Network has always been an informal network. We identified achieving formal status as a network as an important goal to help us progress eco matters within our union. So, this year, we submitted a remit to Congress proposing that the Eco Network become a formal network. Actually, to be precise, the Local Government Sector Committee submitted this remit on our behalf, as we didn’t have the right to!
Eco Network members have been lobbying hard all year for this remit. Briar Wyatt (Eco Network National Co-Convenor and Local Government sector representative) and Nancy McShane (Eco Rep and Women’s Network Convenor) gave powerful speeches in favour of the remit at Congress.
We are absolutely stoked to share that the remit was successful – members voted for the Eco Network to become a formal network, and our network will now be written into the PSA Rules! Some thoughts from Congress attendees on this milestone:
Tatiana Daniels: “There were so many hands up ready to back the motion. It was a beautiful moment.”
Kevin Thompson: “Ae Tautoko the speakers to remit. WOW !!!....and that is how its done!!”
Deb Hardwicke: “Briar got up there and lobbed the Ecoball across Congress, then Nancy whacked it over the line.”
Nancy McShane (Eco Rep and Women’s Network Convenor):
It was really heartening to hear the strong support in the room from the delegates and a resounding “Yes!” for formalisation following the debates! Climate Change is clearly an issue on our members minds!
As well as being an Eco Rep, I am also Co-Convenor for the PSA Women’s Network. It was therefore both an honour and a pleasure to speak at Congress, from a Women’s Network perspective, in support of the Eco Network’s remit.
The Eco Network’s remit was the final one on the list for Congress and having it pass successfully was a real high for us all and a wonderful way to conclude the event!
Big thanks must go out to the Local Government Sector for submitting the remit on our behalf – the Eco Network couldn’t do that for itself as we didn’t have formal network status – also to our fellow Eco Warriors in Te Rūnanga, Out@PSA, Pasifika Network, the Youth Network and Sector Committees, many of whom were willing and able to speak in support of the remit as well.
Our newly elected President, Benedict Ferguson, is an enthusiastic member of the Eco Network and we are looking forward to working closely with him to progress Eco Network goals.
In particular, one of our major point of focus will be to ensure that addressing climate change is captured in the PSA Strategic Goals. Climate change was mentioned by members many times at Congress. We were pleased to hear PSA National Secretary Kerry Davies note this in her summation of Congress and acknowledge that we need to look at how to incorporate eco matters in the strategic goals.
In addition, the Pasifika Network now have a seat on the Board, following the successful passing of their remit to Congress! We’re confident this will give us an even stronger voice at Board level on Climate Change and other Eco Network issues.
For PSA members who have never attended Congress, I can assure you it’s an amazing experience! Being in a room of passionate, fired up delegates from all over the country makes it extremely full on but at the same time hugely inspiring – you usually come away feeling both energised and exhausted – and this year was definitely no exception!
Finally, congratulations to Briar Wyatt, National Co-Convenor for the Eco Network, who did an outstanding job of her opening and closing statements for the remit – we are so proud of you – well done!"
Congrats to you too, Nancy, and to everyone who worked hard all year to achieve this!
Just Transition is an ongoing project of coordinated work to help support workers through the transition to a low emissions economy.
PSA is committed to helping achieve the goal of a Just transition, as is the NZ Council of Trade Unions
The CTU’s Just Transitions resources can be found here
In 2019 a Just Transitions Summit was held in New Plymouth representing the unveiling of many new Government-backed and private innovations, meant to assist NZ in achieving our Just Transition goals.
More information on that summit including presentations and initiatives can be found here
We have set up a facebook group for members to use as a space to collaborate and share ideas.
You can join the group here
In the following links you can see past ecoNet news and updates.
A collection of resources for the eco Network
Eco Network Poster
Download the Eco reps poster and let everyone in your office know about the Eco Network and who they can contact to find out more
We also have a Eco network pamphlet which can be requested by sending an email to Enquiries subject line Eco Network pamphlet
Rank The Banks
350.org have put together a useful table for assessing the lending and investments practices and policies of NZ Banks