• Posted on: 31/03/2021
  • 2 minutes to read

It may say something about Brad Hedger’s commitment to the union that he agreed to speak to Working Life about his role as a PSA delegate just days before his wedding.

In his 10 years as a Far North District Council delegate, the resource consents engineer has helped achieve many benefits for his workmates.

These include introducing a new pay system that ensures staff have professional development plans that are linked to their progression through the pay grades, and incorporating several collective agreements into one to take away a “divide and conquer scenario”.

Brad’s also pushing for PSA delegates to be included at the council leadership table.

BIG VISION

But alongside issues in his own workplace, Brad has shown the ability to take a big picture view of the issues facing his community.

At last year’s PSA local government conference, he impressed government ministers with his ideas on infrastructure and Resource Management Act issues.

He welcomes RMA reforms to better address one of the biggest risks facing councils - climate change. He says the impacts are already apparent in the North.

“We can physically see roads going here, and if they go the infrastructure below like power, water and sewerage will be gone too.”

OPPORTUNITIES IN THE NORTH

Brad has identified another issue with the pending retirement of many older staff members.

He’s urging the council to introduce a 10% cadetship quota to give locals a chance to replace them rather than importing people from overseas.

He says a lot of rangatahi leave the district because they don’t get opportunities.

“Sometimes we just want someone who can do the job immediately. But we have a high Māori representation and we should be reflective of that.”

Brad, who is of Ngāpuhi whakapapa, wants Te Tiriti to be recognised in the council’s collective agreement and to ensure all staff have a better understanding of te reo and tikanga.

WORKING FROM HOME

Brad and the Far North District Council team of delegates has also been involved in the council’s “progressive” approach to continuing to work remotely post-lockdown.

About 80 percent of staff are still working from home, a change that has real advantages in a far flung district where some previously faced 90 minute commutes.

Brad says they’re working with internet providers to improve connectivity to enable other entities such as the local rūnanga to work remotely, which will bring flow on benefits to local businesses and communities.

“It could be game changing for our district.”