Member Q&A - Asher Goldman


Each month we talk to a PSA Youth member and find out about their work and passions.

If you want to be involved in this feature let us know at psay@psa.org.nz

Asher GoldmanThis month we catch up with Asher Goldman, Convenor of PSA Youth.

What were you initial thoughts on signing up to do this feature?

I think it’s great – one of the things I love about PSA Youth is the opportunity to get to know other PSA members from other workplaces, sectors and parts of the country, and having this Q&A in the newsletter is just another way to do this.

What do you do on an average day at work?

At Parliament, there’s almost no such thing as “an average day”, things can change at a moment’s notice from relatively quiet to ridiculously busy! Basically, I run the life of an MP, so that encompasses everything from research to diary management to policy analysis to media wrangling to helping constituents. It’s a great way to see how our Parliament and legislative process really works (or, perhaps more accurately, doesn’t work) from the inside.

What was a highlight at work for you in the past month?

Getting our new collective agreement ratified in April. I was one of the delegates involved in bargaining with Parliamentary Service and after many months we finally got an offer we were able to take out and recommend to our members. Still, it only lasts until August this year so we’ll be back at the bargaining table soon to try to get a better deal that fairly recognises our skills, qualifications and the jobs we do.

What bought you to join the PSA and the PSA Youth network?

I was previously a member of another union, but in late 2011 we decided there was no point in having 3 different unions for the same staff, so en masse we left and joined the PSA as we wanted to stand in solidarity with the rest of the public sector that was under attack by this Government, and to have the backing of a well-resourced and well-run union for our own work. I joined PSA Youth because I am passionate about ensuring that unions in NZ have a future, and that we properly develop our younger union members to take over senior roles in the movement. A few months later, the position of PSA Youth National Convenor came up, after some gentle encouragement (read: nagging) I decided to put my name forward, and I was lucky enough to be elected at our 2011 national conference.

Name one thing you like about PSA Youth network

The chance to work with other youth to push forward younger union members’ perspectives within the PSA, helping to modernise it (and by extension hopefully the union movement) over time.

What is your vision for the network?

I see us as having 3 sides to our work – advocating for our views and for increased involvement within the PSA by our younger members; training and developing our members to be leaders (in the union, in our workplaces and in wider society); and advocating for young workers’ rights in the wider political sphere (including engaging with Parliament and the media on issues that impact on us, both inside and outside the workplace).

How about when you aren't at work?  What else do you like to do with your time?

I just got engaged at the start of May, so spending time with my new fiancé has to be top of the list (she’s a PSAY member too, so no doubt she’ll read this!). I also love to read (especially non-fiction, especially science), watch tv and relax in the sun (when Wellington lets me have some) with good coffee.

What are your three favourite foods?

Potatoes, potatoes, potatoes. Nothing beats ‘em.

What are your three loves?

My fiancé, astrophysics and television, whisky. No wait, that’s four.

What are your three pet peeves?

Conspiracy theorists (unfortunately we have to deal with a lot of these at work), people moving things on my desk (I’m very organised and precise about it!), txt spk

What music are you listening to?

In the last week or so I’ve been listening to Lorde, Justin Townes Earle, Lianne La Havas, Justin Cross and Janelle Monae.

What book are you reading?

The Quantum Universe (And Why Anything That Can Happen, Does) by Brian Cox and Jeff Forshaw

What advice would you give your 18year old self?

Don’t live in Aro Valley, it’s damp and it’ll make your stuff mouldy. Prepare yourself for many more years of disappointment by the Black Caps and Hurricanes. Buy a new pair of glasses, owning nothing but contact lenses for the next 6 years is gonna be stupidly expensive!

Anything else you would like to add?

If you don’t already, you should follow PSA Youth on Facebook and Twitter. Also, follow me personally on Twitter if you like endless inane comments mixed with occasional political insight.

Lastly, if you can, get more involved in PSA Youth! Volunteer to help organise events in your regions, we can always use the extra help.

NotAllPotatoes