President's message: Stand Together for Community

Around the same time as this issue of Working Life arrives in your hands, you’ll also be receiving another more important (though perhaps less well designed) set of documents in the mail.

N4345 mike tana webAcross New Zealand, voting papers for the local body and district health board (DHB) elections should be landing in your mailbox from September 16 – 21, and you have until lunchtime on October 8 to get these back.

As PSA members, it’s really important that we have our say, and encourage our friends and whānau to make their voices heard as well.

Who gets elected to represent us on our local councils and district health boards impact on the future of our communities in ways far beyond the typical rubbish and rates (though these are important).

Good local body candidates mean commitments to making our councils Living Wage employers, to keeping libraries and swimming pools open in our suburbs. It means the difference between affordable housing and freezing out first-home buyers, and it means ensuring that the areas we live in have parks, trees, and the other things that make raising our families a little easier.

Likewise, our district health boards help contribute to making our public health system one that respects the staff working in it while ensuring the best possible services for the people who need them. When things go wrong, we put our faith in the nurses, doctors and other hospital staff to ensure our health. That makes it all the more important that we elect good people to district health boards.

It can be hard to judge who to vote for in local elections. Unlike in national elections, most people don’t have a political party affiliation to use as an easy way to figure out their policies. Local media doesn’t have the resources to focus on most of the races, so outside of the biggest centres, it can be hard to find details.

One way to find out more is to attend a local candidates’ meeting. No matter where you are, there will be at least one event nearby where you can attend, hear from candidates and perhaps even ask a question about an issue you care about.

We’ve also tried to make things easier – in this issue of Working Life, there’s plenty more on the importance of the upcoming elections, and a handy pull-out guide to cut through the jargon and work out what candidates really mean.

On our Stand Together campaign Facebook page we’ve been profiling a number of candidates for a wide range of councils and DHBs, many of whom are proud union members.

There are a number of PSA members standing for office around the country, and I send them my best wishes. I’m also excited to be one of them – I’ve put my name forward to be the next mayor of my hometown, Porirua.

No matter what happens in the elections, this is my last President’s Message column, as a new PSA president will be elected at our Congress in Wellington in late September. It has been an honour and a privilege to serve you for the last four years, and with our hard work I’m sure our union will continue to thrive in the years to come.

Kia kaha
Ngā mihi nui kia koutou katoa
Mike Tana