Inspirational speeches at this year’s PSA Youth Hui have propelled Elvisa Van Der Leden into a seat at the council table.
After joining the PSA earlier this year, the DOC worker decided to attend the PSAY Hui in August.
“I went along just to learn but I was really inspired by everybody who was there,” Elvisa says.
Speakers including Green MP Chloe Swarbrick made a big impression on the 28 year-old.
“Just going for it. Normalising young people standing for office was a big theme that I took from it.”
So much so she threw her hat in the ring for a seat on the Taranaki Regional Council – and just a few months later was sworn into office.
Elvisa says it took a while for the significance of her victory to sink in. “Especially for a young, multi-ethnic woman to get into that position first time round was humbling.”
She says she always got a laugh at election forums when she described herself as a half-Filipino half-Irish woman married to a Dutch-Māori, but now she believes she brings a fresh perspective to the council.
She hopes to promote the use of social media to educate her peers, marine issues which are close to her heart as a part-time environmental educator, and the Living Wage for council contractors.
The PSA congratulates Elvisa and other PSA members who stood in local government and DHB elections in October.
Other successes include the return to Wellington City Council of PSA lawyer Fleur Fitzsimons, the election of PSA member Nicole Marshall to Environment Canterbury, and members Andrew Shaw and Cindy Schmidt to the Kaipātiki Local Board, Auckland Council. Former PSA member Zoe Brownlie was re-elected to the Auckland District Health Board.
We also thank candidates for promoting issues like the Living Wage, equal pay, and better public and health services during the campaign.
A survey of wāhine Māori in the PSA has drawn a fantastic response - with more than 900 members taking the time to tell us about their employment experiences.
Your salaries generally reflect the gender and ethnic pay gaps seen in the wider workforce with Pākeha men well out in front of other groups.
That’s why we’ve made a submission on the Government’s new discussion document on FPAs and have been encouraging members to make sure their voices are heard.
Their role is to organise and advocate for Māori members in their sectors. They also represent their sectors on Te Kōmiti o Te Rūnanga o Ngā Toa Awhina and on sector committees.
Staff from the Ministry’s policy teams have attended UN indigenous rights forums in Geneva and New York.