80,000 strong!

Our 80,000th PSA member Susan Klock ticked the box to join the union as soon as she started her new job at the Bay of Plenty DHB in February.

“I like being part of a movement that looks after us. I tell all my workmates to join,” she says.

The registered social worker had previously been a PSA member at Te Pou Oranga o Whakatōhea, a Māori provider of health and social services.

She was encouraged to join the first time around when the non-government organisation was going through a period of restructuring.


“Working for an NGO, I knew nothing about a union. But as kaimahi, we felt like we weren’t being heard.

“So we joined, then we knew if something happened we had the union to fall back on. It was a safety net.”

In her new role working with high risk whānau in the paediatrics and maternity department at Whakatāne Hospital, Susan enjoys a better salary than she did as an NGO social worker.

She still has a lot of sympathy for her former workmates, who she says are on similar wages to kiwifruit workers, but often don’t feel safe to complain.


A desire to support pay parity for social workers was another reason Susan rejoined the union.

“There’s a huge difference in pay rates, but we’re doing the same job, working with vulnerable families.”

It’s a job Susan is passionate about.

On the morning Te Mahinga Ora visited she was working with a homeless woman, ensuring she was provided with a bed and food.

“If a hapū māmā comes in we are there. We come up with a safety plan to reduce the risk for her unborn child.”


Born and bred in Kutarere, in the Eastern Bay of Plenty, Susan is also able to support her iwi, Te Upokorehe, through her mahi.

“A lot of our people come through the maternity ward, and we have workshops and pregnancy programmes working with whānau.”

As our 80,000th member we are pleased to offer Susan two nights accommodation in our PSA holiday homes.

She says being able to stay in PSA holiday accommodation in Rotorua was a huge help when she was training for a counselling degree.  Now she’s looking forward to “going somewhere different with hubby”.


In July the PSA proudly celebrated topping 80,000 members for the first time in our 108 year history.

As Aotearoa’s largest union, we have the collective strength to represent you in the workplace and to influence change at a political level to improve public and community services and create a better society for all New Zealanders.

We are also strengthening our union through the creation of new leadership positions, more organisers, and a new membership advice and support centre, so we can continue to support all 80,000+ of you.

Also in this issue:

Wāhine Māori members call out racism

A survey of our wāhine Māori members has revealed appallingly high levels of bias, discrimination and racism in the workplace – so we’re launching a campaign to call it out.

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President's Message

Benedict Ferguson talks about the importance of vaccination in this issue's President's Message.

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News in Brief

Our Covid vaccination webinars, helping flood victims, and a workplace agreement at ERO feature in our News in Brief.

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It feels different this time

Once again essential workers have been leading the way as we work to contain the spread of Covid-19 in our communities.

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Our union goals

We’ve refreshed our strategic goals to strongly reflect our commitment to Te Tiriti and Ngā Kaupapa principles and to combatting climate change.

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A new dawn

Tears of joy, sadness and thankfulness were shed as the New Zealand government officially apologised for the Dawn Raids, writes PSA Pasefika co-convenor ‘Ofeina Manuel-Barbarich who represented our union at the historic event.

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Let's do better on housing

Housing remains a critical issue for our members - and we’re speaking out about the urgent need to build more state houses.

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Putting principles into practice

Work is continuing to eliminate the gender pay gap with the implementation of principles and plans across the public service.

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Recognising admin workers

Dallas Macris feels she’s helping to make a difference for women by being part of the PSA public service clerical and admin pay equity team.

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Fighting for our climate

Our union’s commitment to action on climate change can be seen in our refreshed strategic goals and the formal recognition of the Eco network in the PSA Rules.

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A potential gamechanger

Could bananas be the key to creating a more environmentally friendly dairying system?

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PSA joins calls for democracy in Myanmar

The PSA took part in a Global Union Day of Action for Myanmar on September 15.

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Gig work not a cool side-hustle

Insecure work equals insecure income. When people have no idea about their income then it is impossible to plan for the essential costs of life.

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Leading the Way

A heartfelt thank you to retiring delegate Jenny Goodman from PSA national secretary Kerry Davies.

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On the Job

Hinonga Māngai Māori PSA delegate, Susanne Tapsell is retiring but her legacy at Auckland Council will live on.

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Speaking out on mental health

We always talk about union members having a say about the way they work and how that affects their clients and communities, but what does that look like in practice?

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Online Kōrero

As more of us work from home more often, Te Taura Whiri i Te Reo Māori has produced some great resources so you can kōrero online too.

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Around & About

Our photos from around the union for this issue include the Wellington Women's Network, equal pay increase celebrations for care and support workers, and PSAY youth leadership training.

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Thanks PSA for caring for the carers

Carers who look after whānau do outstanding work every day for their loved ones and the wider community.

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