March News in Brief

March News in Brief


OCM MAs we look ahead to the election in September -  our choice matters.

Both union members and the wider public have a choice whether to vote for politicians who will deliver the fairer and kinder New Zealand we want.

This election we’ll be looking for policies that will make a difference on our key issues of public housing, health care funding, pay equity, and climate change.

The PSA will also be highlighting the importance of community and public services in the lives of voters.

In the coming months we will be working to make sure members’ voices are central to our election campaign and to further engage Māori, Pasefika and younger voters.

Join our PSA Facebook page to tautoko our campaign We’ll also be emailing you about ways you can sign up for election activities and updates in the coming weeks.


The PSA would like to acknowledge the important work being done by our members in the health sector, lab testing, and at the borders to combat the spread of Corona Virus (COVID-19).

Our organisers have been working with employers on pandemic planning, particularly those agencies on the frontline of dealing with the risk of infection.

 The PSA is also in touch with central government agencies who are monitoring the situation.

There may be some members who have been asked by the Ministry of Health or their employer to isolate themselves for 14 days on their return from travelling overseas if they have been in mainland China or exposed to a confirmed case of COVID-19.

If you are in that situation and experiencing difficulty in getting your employer to pay for that time off work please call us on 0508 367 772.

For up-to-date advice go to


Negotiations are underway for an eagerly-awaited settlement to the DHB Admin & Clerical Pay Equity Claim.

The claim for 7000 PSA members was raised in November 2018.

The negotiations come as the PSA takes the fight for equal pay for administration workers to 41 agencies in the Public Service, Kainga Ora and ACC with out Make It Real equal pay claim and campaign.


In early February, RNZ announced its new music strategy which included a proposal to axe over 18 of our members’ jobs and move the station to AM radio.

A groundswell of public and political opposition to that plan soon led to a backdown from the RNZ Board and management.

The public showed their support for RNZ staff in a Birthday Bash Concert at Parliament on February 23.

Since then, PSA members at RNZ have been working hard towards developing a better music strategy and create a workplace culture in which they feel valued and encouraged.

Negotiations for a new Collective Employment Agreement alongside our sister union, E Tū, kicked off in November 2019. At the time of writing, a settlement had not yet been reached.

All members are closely following developments in the merger between RNZ and TVNZ.

PSA members want to see a renewed commitment to quality public service broadcasting without commercial interference.


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Crowds gathered at the RNZ Concert


Our extremely popular Progressive Thinking books are making a comeback. 

Our new book on public services will hit local PSA offices and our website in May.

If you have suggestions on how to build public services that will meet the needs of New Zealanders in 2040 or if you would like to nominate your own public service hero, email

You never know, they may end up in the book!


Elizabeth Orr2

Elizabeth Orr

Pay Packets and Stone Walls,
Elizabeth Orr

At the beginning of her memoir Elizabeth Orr pledges to tell the truth about the fight for pay equity for women, her reasoning being that it has lessons for the future. 

Born in 1929, Elizabeth was a trade union leader, involved in the formation of the National Advisory Council on the Employment of Women (NACEW), and in the passing of the Equal Pay Act in 1972.  

Her memoir has fascinating details of the fight for equal pay, culminating in the Kristine Bartlett case, but it is not at all a dry retelling of that fight. It is a wonderful story of life in New Zealand, told in a gentle, authentic voice. 

I enjoyed the story she tells of discovering an unknown part of her own story when she realises one of the women in a photo of a PSA equal pay campaign committee circa 1943 is her aunt Oenone Greig.

Elizabeth has been a friend and colleague to many others within the PSA .The book is available from

Nā Nanette Cormack

Also in this issue:

Maranga Mai

The guiding purpose of Maranga mai o ngā whakangungu ā rohe is to enable Māori delegates to use their perspective and experience to advocate for Te Tiriti o Waitangi in their workplaces.

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"We have come too far to not go further"

The Public Service in its current form is failing Māori. This is abundantly clear as Māori are over-represented in all negative social statistics. We need a public service that delivers for Māori.

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“Remember the loss but also remember the hope”

PSA delegate Benjamin Gresham says the Christchurch Invitation is a call to spread peace, reconnect, and feed the hungry - which draws on the teachings of the Muslim tradition.

Read the full post

‘We thank you for your brave stand’

As forty or so people gathered in the blazing Wairarapa sun, only two had ever joined a protest before in their lives. Within twenty minutes, they were leading their own chants and you could hear them for miles.

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Leading the charge on contractor rights

The PSA made a change to its rules in 2018 by enabling contractors and labour hire workers to become members.

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Make it Real

Their work often goes unnoticed - but they’re the ones that keep organisations running smoothly, the ones you turn to when things go wrong, the ones that are first to greet the public.

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Opportunities and issues with new bill

The PSA welcomes most aspects of the bill - but there are issues it does not address and we drew these to the attention of the select committee.

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The PSA’s greatest victory?

On 29 March 1974 more than 600 uniformed school dental nurses proceeded silently down Wellington’s Lambton Quay. It was, as one observer noted, “almost certainly the largest demonstration of women since the days of the suffragettes”.

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We Count

More than 30% of lesbian, gay and bisexual public service workers who responded to the State Service Commission’s We Count Survey last year reported being uncomfortable being open or out at work.

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Pacific organisers speak of challenges and triumphs

The organisers from Fiji, Kiribati, Samoa, Australia, Vanuatu and Solomon Islands were attending the International Trade Union Confederation-Asia Pacific workshop in Nadi in November.

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Holiday Home Snaps

The snaps from holiday home stays around the country show just how much fun and relaxation our PSA accommodation has to offer .

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Climate Talk

Tried talking to your Dad about the bushfires in Australia only to discover he’s a climate change denier?

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Leading the Way

“As a child I thought everyone had a Mum and Dad who cared about them,” says the Ngāti Kahungunu wahine who grew up in a loving whānau environment.

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On the Job

“I can help with mental and physical health problems. I want to provide a service where they don’t need to see lots of people.

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Te Reo o te Tari

*Good morning.* Mōrena/Ata mārie. *Welcome to (workplace).* Nau mai ki . *Are you busy?* He nui ō mahi? *I am very busy!* He tino nui aku mahi! *No. I am not very busy. Kāo.* Kāore i nui aku mahi. Kei te aha koe? *What are you doing? *Kei te tuhituhi au. *I am writing. *Kei te mahi au.* I am working.*

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New CTU Secretary Looks to the Future

“I had completed a conjoint arts and law degree so the position tapped into my passion for drama and the arts as well as my knowledge of employment law and policy,” the 31 year-old recalls.

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Mana Wahine Claim goes to Waitangi

The stall gave us an opportunity to kōrero kanohi ki te kanohi with the wider community about the kaupapa of Te Rūnanga o Ngā Toa Āwhina’s Waitangi Tribunal claim.

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