PSA Youth - October 2016
The latest news and views from PSA Youth, our network for PSA members aged under 35.
In this issue:
- PSA Youth success at Congress
- Stand Up conference
- PSA Youth members get elected!
- Fighting for the kiwi
- The latest from the cross-union youth movement
- Member Q&A - Louise Woodthorpe
By PSAY Christchurch convenor Catherine Weusten
In September, I had the pleasure and privilege of attending PSA Congress, alongside more than 150 PSA delegates from across New Zealand. It was a two day event where I was involved in discussions, debates and decisions on the the future of our union.
Excitingly, this was also the first Congress where the formal Networks PSA Youth, Out@PSA, PSA Pasefika and the Woman’s Network had voting rights on proposed rule changes and in the PSA presidential elections.
PSA Youth proposed one rule change, which we were stoked was passed by members at Congress. The rule change means the Executive Board will have to work with us to develop a plan to have youth representatives on each of our sector committees and on the Board itself. This is fantastic news for the network as it gives our members greater opportunity to be represented and the ability to be more actively involved in decision making at these higher levels of governance. This was achieved through the hard work of many PSA Youth members including Caleb Gordon, Candace McCabe, and Rauhina Scott-Fyfe who spoke to the remit at Congress.
In a positive step towards addressing the gender imbalance in some of our leadership structures, members voted in favour of a rule change that requires the governance bodies of the PSA to match the percentage of women in the structures they represent. In another stand out decision, delegates voted for Our Deaf and Disabled Members' Network to be given official status as a formal network.
Janet Quigley, a health promoter at Community and Public Health in Timaru and member of the Woman’s Network committee was elected for a two year term as PSA President, replacing Mike Tana. Congratulations Janet! Janet gave a big shout out to PSA Youth at Congress, and we look forward to working with her over the coming years.
All in all, I found the experience of attending Congress to be interesting and engaging. I really enjoyed interacting with like-minded individuals from different sectors within the PSA. If you ever have the opportunity to put through an expression of interest to attend Congress in future I would highly recommend it!
By PSAY Christchurch convenor Catherine Weusten
Last month, over 100 young unionists, including myself, got together for the biennial Stand Up Youth Union Conference in Auckland. We talked about issues that fire us up the most and the work that we do to improve society for all, on issues like workers’ rights, climate change, discrimination and inequality.
There were a range of speakers that presented issues that currently face the people of New Zealand today.
Daniel Marshall from the Nurses Union took us through the history of unionism, where unionists have come from, where we are going and where we fit into the wider social justice movement.
Max Rashbrooke, an author, academic and journalist discussed facts about the current wealth distribution in New Zealand and the widening gap between the wealthy and those in poverty. It was concerning to me to see how quickly this has started to escalate in our society as the social impacts are anything but positive for our people.
However, it was not all doom and gloom, We listened to a range of activists sharing their personal stories from anti-TPPA activist and nurse Josie Butler (most famously known for throwing a sex toy at a politician and shutting down a part of the Auckland motorway during anti-TPPA protests), Stephan Hassan from Auckland Action Against Poverty and environmental activist Michael Tavares who spent four days up a 500-year-old kauri tree in West Auckland to prevent it being felled. They spoke about what inspires them to step up and take a stand for social justice.
There were a range of workshops available that allowed us to discuss different issues facing the union movement today and the possible solutions, i.e. issues for young migrant workers, equal pay, taking action for climate justice and to ensure we have an inclusive union movement.
We made a stand in relation to the Housing crisis and the future young Kiwis are facing, by organising a monopoly themed march. We came together in Auckland’s Aotea Square, banners in hand, and made our way down Queen Street chanting ‘Housing is for people! Not for profit!’
Events like this are where our future and current leaders emerge and the conference was a truly inspiring and empowering experience.
We were super stoked to see that two PSA Youth members were elected in the local body and DHB elections – Jake McLellan to the Linwood-Central-Heathcote Community Board in Christchurch, and Zoe Brownlie to the Auckland District Health Board. Huge congratulations to you both!
Another PSA Youth member stood for election – Chris Peel, as did former Dunedin PSAY convenor Erin Hodgson. While they weren’t elected, they did a great job of speaking out about the issues that matter, and helping to get these on the agenda. Well done.
You can find out more about PSA members who were elected on our website, including our recently departed PSA president Mike Tana (now Mayor of Porirua)! Wahoo!
By PSAY member Andy Cleave
As the PSA Youth we are part of the future of the public service, but more than that we are also part of the future of New Zealand. While this includes shaping the way the public sector works, it also includes keeping that future in all facets intact for future generations.
To help with this, I’m getting in a boxing ring on November 11 to shine a light on Kiwi Conservation and fight for 3 x 2 minute rounds raising money for the Kiwis for Kiwi charity.
Every $100 I raise is enough to protect a kiwi, its young, and it’s territory for an entire year and with the decline being so rapid there is a very real chance kiwi may disappear from mainland NZ within our lifetime. Please help me save one of our national icons by clicking here to donate to the cause. Every little bit counts!
Check out the latest Stand Up newsletter for a full report on their recent conference with more than 100 young unionists from across New Zealand - including a great group of PSA members. The newsletter has photos, a report back on the Stand Up for Housing protest and more!
What were you initial thoughts on signing up to do this Q&A?
Not a problem at all
What is your job and what do you do on an average day at work?
I’m a Regulatory Services Administrator for our local council (Whanganui District Council). I primarily deal with the administration of liquor licenses in our district from accepting the applications right through to issuing them as well as support the other regulatory areas by providing backup to the other administrators in my team.
What was a highlight at work for you in the past month?
Being re-elected as a PSA delegate
What would you say is the hardest thing about your job?
Making sure the correct information is provided as we are under specific legal requirements through legislation.
What do you enjoy about being a part of PSA and PSA Youth, and what brought you to join?
I joined PSA so I could be included in the benefits of the collective agreement.
What is your vision for young members of the PSA?
To provide more communication to the youth who are not in a union yet and to have them understand why they should join.
How do you like to spend your time outside of work?
I am a mother of 2 (5 & 7) which keep me busy and am a keen netballer.
What cause would get you out on the streets protesting and why?
I haven't been involved in a protest to date but if there was one happening I would need to be connected to the cause in one way or another and fully support the cause behind it.
Which three figures from past or present would you invite to your place for dinner, and why?
Kate Shepherd as she is a great female influence, Ellen DeGeneres she has this huge heart and has done so well for herself and I love her be kind to one another philosophy. Lastly my mum she is a great role model. What a dinner this would be!!!!
What are your three pet peeves?
When I receive text responses and they are just the letter "k", the older generation not understanding that woman can answer technical questions on what used to be male dominated work environments and being late!
What advice would you give your 16 year old self?
Never give up on a dream just because of the time it will take you to accomplish it. The time will pass anyway!
Anything else you would like to add?
Thanks for this great opportunity.