President's message - So proud of our local heroes

Naku te rourou nau te rourou ka ora ai te iwi.

Janet Quigley, PSA president

Janet Quigley, PSA president

The recent earthquakes and storms have been a shock to us all. We’ve seen two tragic deaths, a number of injuries, buildings damaged, roads closed and entire communities isolated from their friends and whānau.

I’m proud though, that in this time of need, PSA members stood up and put our ethos of public service on display to help keep New Zealanders safe, supported and informed.

Our members at GNS Science and Geonet have worked tirelessly to help people understand what is going on, both with quick response information and more in-depth analysis as time has allowed.

Local council staff have been amazing at cleaning up roads, cordoning off unsafe areas and keeping residents up to date with what’s going on near their homes and their places of work.

Radio NZ was invaluable in their coverage from the time the earthquake first hit and they continue to be the most trusted source of news for so many of us, both on the airwaves and online. Our members there, alongside their colleagues in our sister union E tū, deserve our gratitude.

My colleagues at Canterbury DHB’s Community and Public Health have been crucial in monitoring drinking water, ensuring food safety during power outages, sanitation in areas with no water and of course the psychosocial impact and recovery of those affected, including those in welfare centres.

At NZTA, PSA members will be working hard to reconnect isolated communities and to fix damaged infrastructure for many months to come. MPI are working with the rural sector to develop and provide a range of support for farmers and rural communities. And so many more of our members have been and will continue to be involved, in countless ways.

Of course, the earthquakes haven’t only impacted on buildings and roads, but also on our emotions. This will be a stressful time for many, and our members working for social services like Lifeline will be providing invaluable support in the coming weeks for many around the country.

Some of the buildings that we work in are damaged, in particular Statistics House, which houses Statistics NZ and the Ministry of Transport, and Defence House, and will remain closed for some time.

For those working from home, or from alternate offices, new challenges will arise. Our members in Christchurch have significant experience in this, and our shared union is something that will serve to connect us to each other so we can best learn from those who have already been through similar circumstances.

No matter what comes, I know that across this country, we will get through. And no matter what, I know that PSA members will be at the centre of this country’s response. That is something we can all be proud of.

Thank you for electing me

This is my first column as your new PSA president, and I want to take this opportunity to thank you for your faith in me. I look forward to meeting as many of you as I can over the course of my time as president, and to give all that I can to make sure our wonderful union improves even further over the coming years.

Equal pay

As we were going to print, the Government announced that it was accepting the Equal Pay Principles negotiated by the PSA alongside other unions, business and Government representatives.

You can find out the details on the next page, but I want to pay tribute to our PSA equal pay advocates, Women’s Network members and staff who have worked tirelessly to promote equal pay over many years.

Ngā mihi o te wā me te Tau Hou Ki te whānau

Wishing you and your whānau a safe and happy festive season.

Janet Quigley