Public servants to descend on parliament to celebrate PSA centenary

Hundreds of public servants in Wellington are expected to descend on parliament today (Tuesday 22 October) to celebrate the 100th anniversary of the country’s largest union, the Public Service Association.

The PSA grew out of the New Zealand Civil Service Association in 1913 when three young Education Department clerks decided to form an association to provide ordinary public servants with the support they needed.  Their actions followed the passage of the 1912 Public Service Act which created a politically neutral, career public service.

Over the past century the PSA has proudly represented public servants and fought to improve their working lives.  Many of the things it has fought for, such as superannuation, have benefited all workers in New Zealand.

It won equal pay for women, flexible working hours and annual leave and has helped to create a politically neutral and corruption free public service that is the envy of many countries in the world.

The PSA has grown from being a union for government workers to one which represents 58,000 workers in local government, the health sector, crown agencies, state-owned enterprises and community and government funded agencies. 

Today’s event brings to a close a year of centenary celebrations around the country.

Hundreds are expected to gather at the Cenotaph and will then march up to parliament where they will be greeted by a haka from parliamentary security guards who are also PSA members.

The Minister of States Services Jonathan Coleman will address the crowd along with spokespeople from Labour and the Greens, PSA National Secretary Richard Wagstaff and current PSA President Mike Tana.

People will gather at the Cenotaph at 12.45pm with the event due to get underway on the parliamentary lawn at 1pm.

This will be a colourful event with photo opportunities and spokespeople available.  The media is welcome.