• Posted on: 30/06/2021
  • 2 minutes to read
  • Tagged with: State Sector Public Service

Common terms and conditions for all

Imagine a public service where everyone enjoys the same great employment conditions.

It’s also a public service where people can move between agencies with ease, knowing every workplace shares the same people-focused kaupapa and values.

Not only is it possible, we’re working on it now!

As a union member, you contribute to the power the PSA has to negotiate terms and conditions that make all our working lives better.

Currently the PSA negotiates collective agreements with all New Zealand’s public service agencies. Every agreement is different and we notice some agencies have better clauses than others.

We’re pleased to be leading a project to establish a common set of exemplar terms and conditions right across the public sector.

We are working with Te Kawa Mataaho - the Public Service Commission and agency chief executives on the project.


The Public Service Act, which was passed last year, brought agencies closer together in terms of employment.

In the same year, the Covid Crisis showed how the public service can make a big difference when we work together.

Yet we currently have 37 collective agreements in 28 agencies, with varying conditions, and those differences can create barriers to working together.

It’s hoped the creation of modern common conditions across the Public Service will make it easier to work as a team for the benefit of all New Zealanders and support career pathways for our members within the public service.

“It’s an opportunity to be ambitious,” says MBIE delegate Stephen Huinga, who’s part of the working group.

"Together, we can achieve more. Our strength in numbers will be amplified by common agreements across the public sector."


Having common and equitable standards of conditions will remove obstacles to moving between agencies and open up more opportunities, as well as enabling the public service to retain experience and talent. 

This will help to build a highly capable workforce that reflects the diversity of our communities.

Stephen says having common conditions will streamline collective agreement negotiations.

IR delegate Robyn Holland, who is also part of the working group, points out there are additional benefits for workers in organisations with less union engagement.

“Some of them only have small numbers of staff. It’s important for them to have the same conditions.”

Robyn says the working group is making good progress and is set to complete clauses including family violence leave, the change management process, our commitment to

Crown Māori relations and a shared statement of values and principles.


Stephen says once the clauses are developed the PSA working group members will be seeking members’ views.

“We will be asking members for feedback soon and, when the time comes, for their vote on each clause.”

Stay up to date about the project at psa.org.nz/media/campaigns/one-public-service

Image: Public service delegates Stephen Huinga and Robyn Holland