PSA Youth - November 2016

The latest news and views from PSA members aged under 35.

PSAY logo web3In this issue:

Representation of youth on governance structures

In September, delegates at PSA Congress voted in favour of a proposal from PSA Youth to have youth representation on the executive board and sector committees. The proposal requires that a full plan for youth representation is taken to the next Congress in 2018.

The PSA Youth convenors are now working with the Board on how this can be progressed. We have worked with the national secretaries on a proposal around the formation of a steering group to progress this work.

We do not believe it is necessary to wait until Congress 2018 to progress the principle of the remit, and have also submitted a proposal around interim youth representation on governance structures.

These proposals will be considered by the Board next month, and we will report back on progress.

New Wellington PSAY convenor

Active PSAY member Gabie George has stepped up for the Wellington PSAY Convenor role. Gabie works in the communications team at the Department of Internal Affairs, where she is also a delegate, and she was previously a delegate at Parliamentary Service. We’re stoked to have her on the team – welcome!

Keep on fighting the good fight – in Helen Kelly’s name

By Wellington PSAY Convenor Gabie George

It was with great sadness that the PSAY convenors and organisers joined nearly 2,500 others to remember union leader Helen Kelly at a memorial service on Friday 28 October. Following a courageous battle with cancer over the past year, Helen passed away peacefully on 14 October – but it was clear from the memorial service that her memory and work will live on through unions members like us.

Friends, family and colleagues of Helen shared heartfelt and often hilarious tales of her battles for workers’ rights, equal pay, strong health and safety laws and a fair society over the years. Everyone at the memorial was moved to tears as we reflected on what an amazing contribution Helen had made to the union movement, the Pike River mine and forestry fatality families, and New Zealand society.

While she may be gone, she will never be forgotten – and we must carry on the fight for a better working life in her name. The PSA has even seen a surge in new memberships since her passing, many attributed to carrying on Helen’s legacy.

The PSAY convenors met in Wellington for their quarterly planning day, which coincided with the memorial service. They proudly represented PSAY members from across the country at the memorial service.

Wellington youth leadership training – 5 December

There has been lots of interest in the Youth Leadership Training course in Wellington on 5 December. We had so many great applicants but unfortunately had room for less than half of them. We are looking forward to meeting and working with this group of young leaders.

We will be organising additional training days in other regions in the new year, and will be in touch about this.

New PSAY Wellington convenor Gabie George will be at the Wellington youth leadership training to meet and connect with some of the local members.

Local body elections update

We talked in the last PSA Youth newsletter about two great PSAY members who were successful in their campaigns in the recent local body and DHB elections.

Since then, we've become aware of another PSAY person who was elected - Richard Hills is a new member of Auckland Council.

Richard previously worked at Auckland DHB, and we congratulate him on his new role!

Stand Up for Students

By Erina Stockman, PSAY Provincial Convenor (and Educator at YWRC)

Stand up for Students is a combined project of the Young Workers Resource Centre and the youth union movement, Stand Up. This project aims to assist young people in their early employment experience by using volunteers across New Zealand to present the YWRC's Employment Rights and Responsibilities workshop in secondary schools outside of the Centre's geographical reach.

For many students, these workshops are their first introduction to what unions are and the importance of joining. So far we have reached over 20 schools outside of the Waikato/BOP region, which amounts to 400 students who now are empowered with the knowledge of their employment rights! If you are interested in joining this awesome group of volunteers (training will be provided) email them at

Labour History Project 2017 Scholarship

The Labour History Project offers a one-off $2000 scholarship towards a MA degree on an aspect of New Zealand labour history. We give particular consideration to applicants who have been active in the workforce and plan to study an aspect of labour history in the post-World War Two era.

Applications should include a 500-word statement on the proposed project and a 1-2 page curriculum vitae. Please submit your application to the Labour History Project by 1 December 2016.

Post to: Labour History Project, PO Box 27425, Marion Square, Wellington 6141 or via email to:

A big win for equal pay!

The government have just announced they will be accepting the Joint Working Group’s principles for equal pay!

“This is a huge step forward for low paid workers in New Zealand – whether they’re men or women,” PSA national secretary Erin Polaczuk says.

Thank you to all our Equal Pay advocates who have worked so hard on this campaign, supporting action around the country. This step forward for equality is only possible because of your involvement.

Read more on the PSA website.

Our own Erina Stockman, PSAY provincial convenor, was on Morning Report on Radio NZ today to talk about the announcement. Great stuff Erina!

Amber Igasia

Amber Igasia, on the right

Member Q&A - Amber Igasia

Amber Igasia, PA to the director of communications, Department of Internal Affairs.

What were you initial thoughts on signing up to do this Q&A?

Happy to help out a friend (PSAY Wellington convenor Gabie George is Amber's teammate)

What is your job and what do you do on an average day at work?

I am a Personal Assistant and my work varies from day to day. The main type of work I do is coordinate meetings, track forward meetings/events and make sure my boss is completely prepared to be the best they can be!

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

I really enjoyed going to Question Time at Parliament for one of our Communications Group gathering. The Prime Minister was there and apparently that’s a reason for all members to be particular rambunctious. It was quite amusing to watch.

What would you say is the hardest thing about your job?

Sheer amount of work. There is always more to be done and the mountain doesn’t end. I’m trying to work with the mantra of being productive in the amount of hours I have in a day rather than working overtime. As I like to say, the work will always be there.

What do you enjoy about being a part of PSA and PSA Youth, and what brought you to join?

I like the range of opportunities to go on workshops and learn about what other people are doing across government. It’s also nice to know that there are a lot of young people doing a whole array of jobs! I definitely joined for the development fund (a PSA member-only fund for training and professional development at DIA) though I’ve yet to apply for it.

How do you like to spend your time outside of work?

Either with my family, in my vege garden, watching something funny, listening/dancing to Queen Bey, reading in the sun or sleeping.

Which three figures from past or present would you invite to your place for dinner, and why? 

Michelle Obama, Beyonce Knowles and ... I’m still deciding on a third.

Michelle because she’s an amazing woman with great advice and vision for the future.

Beyonce because she’s a powerhouse who would be a wonderful source of information about succeeding in a field. (Also my idol).

Third unknown because they’d have to be able to hold their own at this table of amazing women! Possibly Adele, Laverne Cox, Chrissy Teigen, Gina Rodriguez or Blue-Ivy Carter.

What are your three pet peeves?

1.    Chewing with your mouth open – YUCK

2.    Being rude to people (particularly service staff)

3.    Poor future planning and last minute requests...

What advice would you give your 16 year old self?

You’re on the right track so chill out and relax.

It’s okay to stand your ground and stick to your beliefs.

No one is watching you. Seriously.

Don’t let your flatmate cut your hair!


It has been a difficult week for many of us, with earthquakes (and storms) stressing us out and for some of us, damaging our workplaces or homes.

The PSA website has a forum where you can find information and where to access support if you need it. In these difficult times, it's more important than ever that we stick together and have each other's backs.