President's message - It's Our Future
It made me proud to carry my son Manaia to Parliament with me in August to protest against the Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement (TPPA).
By Mike Tana, PSA president
Secretive trade agreements like the TPPA will impact on New Zealand during my lifetime, but PSA members are speaking out not just for ourselves, but out of concern for the future that our children will have to live through.
PSA members, delegates and staff were prominent amongst the 25,000 people who marched across the country on 15 August. It was great to see our centenary banner and our flags mixing with those of other unions, political parties and NGOs, and alongside a wide array of colourful hand-drawn placards by ordinary kiwis concerned about what’s happening to our country.
Our union has a long tradition of speaking out publicly on issues and the TPPA is no different. We’ve supported the It’s Our Future campaign (itsourfuture.org.nz) which unites a range of organisations, academics and others who don’t want New Zealand to sign up to this agreement which will be bad for workers and for our society.
The PSA slogan, for a better working life, makes it clear that our goal is to improve the lives of our members, not just our working conditions. In November this year, we’ll be encouraging PSA members to join not just other New Zealanders, but also marches all around the world calling for greater action on climate change.
Work to organise the New Zealand mobilisations has already begun, and we’re playing our part to support this. As a Pacific nation, New Zealand has a responsibility to help support our island neighbours who face serious threats from rising sea levels due to the changing climate. We can and should be a trend-setter internationally, rather than lagging behind.
Our mokopuna deserve the chance to grow up in a society that helps them to thrive – not one where their government cannot legislate for fear of being sued by multinationals, or one with more droughts and extreme storm events.
I took Manaia with me because I want him to grow up knowing that it’s important to stand up for what you believe in. That’s why I first joined the PSA, and why our 3000+ PSA delegates volunteer their time each and every day to help transform our workplaces.
I look forward to seeing a lot of you in November marching for action on climate change, doing what PSA members do best – standing up for a better Aotearoa New Zealand.