Ministerial Review of local govt an opportunity to put people first
23 Apr 2021
The union for local government workers welcomes Minister Nanaia Mahuta’s planned review of the sector, but more of a focus on worker participation is needed.
The Public Service Association represents nine thousand local government staff around the country. They care about the services they provide to their communities, but many don’t feel their employers care enough about them.
Some councils have recently refused to bargain with staff for pay increases, despite the considerable sacrifices workers made over the past year.
The situation is particularly bad for groups like library assistants, who are underpaid because they are mostly women. The PSA hopes the Ministerial Review can support a more joined up approach toward the local government workforce and progress toward fairer working conditions - in particular equal pay.
"New Zealand’s local authorities do great work but there is room for improvement. There is an urgent need for investment in infrastructure like water systems and road safety, and the sector will benefit from more coordination between councils and more long term thinking," says PSA National Secretary Erin Polaczuk.
"The Ministerial Review is an opportunity to move towards this. In order for it to be as effective as possible, the workers who make everything possible must be involved from day one. That means as wide a range of staff as possible, not just managers."
"The review is also an opportunity to refocus local government on its core purpose, public wellbeing. Too many services have been contracted out to private companies who only care about profit, and the failures of this approach can be seen everywhere from Transmission Gully to the picket lines of bus drivers in Wellington today."