News in Brief

In our briefs section we reveal what you did in the lockdown, preview the Women's Network Conference, and much more...


In the last week of Alert Level 4, we asked PSA members about your lockdown experiences through an online survey.

Thanks to 16,352 members who shared their experiences with us.

Your responses show what an amazing contribution people in public and community services made to get us all through.

Of those who completed the survey, 69% worked in essential services, while 95% continued working through Level 4. 

Of those of you who continued to work, just under two thirds worked from home.

The highest rates of not being able to work were in local government, 10%, and community support, 12%.

In local government this was partly due to the closure of libraries. In community support, a third of workers reported they could not work because they were over 70 or immune compromised, or caring for another adult in their household.

Encouragingly 77% of respondents expressed satisfaction with their employers’ support for their health and safety.

Those who did not get the support they needed were mainly concerned about the provision of protective equipment, or the adequacy of equipment and communication.


The PSA Women's Network is holding its biennial conference in Wellington on August 27-28.

There will be panel discussions featuring women leading the way in pay equity and smashing the ceiling across our union, the women’s movement and the political sphere.

We’ll also look at the challenges we face, and strategies we can use to advance equality for women.

PSA national secretary Erin Polaczuk and President Janet Quigley will be among the speakers.

Keynote speakers include Minister for Women Julie Anne Genter, PSA Mana Wahine claim lawyer Tania Te Whenua, Labour List MP Kiritapu Allan and Green List MP Jan Logie.

While the conference is fully subscribed, you can find out more about the Women’s Network at  


Two important PSA events have been postponed due to uncertainties created during the lockdown.

The PSA Congress will now be held on November 16-18.

It will bring together representatives from all sectors to set policy and direction, and elect a new PSA President.

The PSA Māori Congress, Hui Taumata will now be held on October 29-30. The hui is an opportunity to strengthen the voice of Māori within the union.


The PSA is particularly pleased a major review of the Health and Disability System has asked government to invest in more secure employment for community and home support workers.

Adequate funding must be allocated so front line workers can plan their lives and progress their careers.

The report calls for an end to the fragmentation that plagues the system, and notes the severe health inequities facing Māori.

We welcome the report’s recognition of the role health workers and their unions can play to improve outcomes.


We’re building a PSA member-only pay tool so you can explore a massive pay database gathered from our first-ever whole of PSA pay survey last year.

More than 27,000 members shared their pay information in the survey.

The pay tool on our website will enable you to search pay rates by occupation and have this displayed by region, gender, ethnicity and other factors. We hope to add new data every year to keep you up-to-date.

The tool will give you the information you need to make decisions about your job and career, and tell you if you are being paid fairly.

It will give members unprecedented pay transparency within the PSA’s areas of coverage.

The Human Rights Commission is campaigning for pay transparency to end the gender pay gap.

As soon as the Pay Tool is ready to go, we will let you know. 


We’ve invited some of New Zealand’s most interesting thinkers to present webinars on Possible Futures for Public and Community Services.

In the lead up to the election, PSA members will be able to discuss what change is needed as we rebuild from the Covid crisis.

Look out for webinars on a Ministry of Works, Māori policy and delivery, the health system, the welfare state, social marketing and the State, Better Government, fresh water regulation and tax.

Or check out previous webinars at 

sanitiser1 cropped2PSA SANITISER

As our members returned to work we secured supplies of PSA sanitiser to help keep you safe in the workplace.

The sanitiser is being distributed via organisers and national delegates, but if you would like a few more for your office contact 


In a communications survey last year members told us they wanted fewer paper copies of Working Life due to concerns about the environmental impact and waste.

We’re responding to this by reducing the copies we send to larger offices by 10% each issue this year.

We’re also making the journal more accessible through an email newsletter and a refreshed webpage:


Tooth and Veil Cover5BOOK WINNERS

Thanks to the many of you who entered our competition to win copies of Tooth and Veil by Noel O’Hare.

Anna Friedlander from Waipa District Council, Ruth Ferrari from Nelson Marlborough DHB, and Christchurch dental therapist Prue Davis were the lucky winners who told us Annette King was the former dental nurse and PSA delegate who went on to become a Labour MP.

Also in this issue:

Life in Lockdown

Home became a workplace for thousands of PSA members during Level 4 lockdown.

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The Story behind the Fight for PPE

It was “humbling” for PSA delegate Jacob Crown to see how everyone stood together to campaign for PPE for care and support workers during the Covid Crisis.

Read More

Stepping Up in a Crisis

Thousands of PSA members showed the value of what they do as they responded to a global pandemic by delivering essential services during the lockdown.

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From exploitation to empowerment

Within months of arriving in New Zealand, Mandeep Bela was being exploited by his employer.

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The New Normal

The Covid-19 pandemic will change our future in ways we cannot yet know.

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A big idea for unprecedented times

The Covid crisis has shown us that when New Zealanders pull together we can achieve amazing things.

Read More

Our candidates for PSA President

A new PSA president will be elected by attendees at the PSA Congress in Wellington on November 16-18. Here are the candidates:

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Challenging Times for Local Government

Thousands of PSA members work for local authorities around New Zealand.

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Building Better Together

As we emerge from the COVID crisis, Working Life asks Council of Trade Unions President Richard Wagstaff how we should rebuild for a brighter future

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From Crisis to Resilience

The challenges the world faces to rebuild from the Covid crisis have been laid bare by International Trade Union Confederation General Secretary Sharan Burrow.

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Mana Wahine goes to Parliament

Te Runanga o Ngā Toa Āwhina members spread the word about their Mana Wahine treaty claim when they met with some of Labour’s Māori Caucus at Parliament in March.

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Doing the Mahi

Delegates at the first hui of the Inland Revenue Rūnanga came away inspired to “do the mahi”.

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Hoea te Local Government Waka

A new Local Government Rūnanga held its first hui in March.

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Leading the Way

If a meat inspector from Invercargill can become a PSA President then anybody can.

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On The Job

Rose Lee is not your stereotypical librarian.

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Climate Talk

As we grapple with the upheaval caused by Covid-19, I see people asking whether now is the right time to talk about climate change.

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President's Message

Mā ngā huruhuru, ka rere te manu
It is the feathers that enable the bird to fly

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PPE for PSA Photos

PSA care and support workers took part in a Global Day of Action to demand personal protective equipment, pay and respect in April.

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Pets of the PSA

PSA members showed some love for their pets during lockdown - proudly sending in photos of their new office buddies to our PSA Facebook page.

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Te Reo o te Tari

In this issue we bring you some handy kupu for your workspace - whether you're working in the office or at home.

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