December News in Brief

December News in Brief


The PSA supports a bill to reform the public service which was introduced into Parliament in November. We welcome the clarification the bill provides about the role of the public service in relation to the Treaty of Waitangi.

We strongly endorse its affirmation that public servants have the same rights as other citizens.

We are also keen that the new legislation includes a commitment to meeting the Gender Pay Principles, which provide a framework for eliminating gender pay gaps and other gender-based inequalities in the workplace.

The PSA will continue working with Government around details such as the mobility of public servants between departments, in the hope the new legislation will improve productivity and working conditions.
We encourage members to make submissions on the bill or contribute to the submissions of the PSA and Te Rūnanga o Ngā Toa Āwhina.


A lack of affordable housing, healthcare, pay, work and the cost of living, and climate change are concerns that are likely to be on your minds in election year.

They were the common themes to emerge from a survey of PSA members in October.

We asked you what you were most concerned about for your families, your workplaces, your communities and for New Zealand – and what you think needs to change.

In every general election we speak up for PSA members and the public and community services you work in. Your responses to our survey will contribute to our campaign planning for Election 2020. We’ll update members in the New Year on how you can be involved. Many thanks to everyone who shared their views and congratulations to the two winners of the supermarket vouchers!



NIWA protesters in Hamilton

Hundreds of NIWA members across the country walked off the job for two hours on November 21, and refused to submit timesheets for two weeks. During the strike the workers were out in their communities cleaning up beaches, parks and rivers.

PSA members have agreed to a proposed 2% pay increase, but the PSA believes NIWA's refusal to settle after 16 months is part of a wider approach to undermine the collective employment agreement and union membership.

NIWA has been refusing to allow overtime compensation for working unsociable hours, and some members say they feel targeted and discriminated against.

It was the first industrial action taken by workers at a Crown Research Institute since they were created in 1992.


LIving Wage Morning Tea2PSA Department of Internal Affairs members at the National Library and Ngā Taonga in Wellington held a morning tea during Living Wage Week in November to show their solidarity for the cleaners and security guards there who are E tū members. 

PSA National Library delegate Chantalle Smith said the security staff and cleaners are their whānau.

“We don’t think it is right that they are paid so little. They work hard and do long hours, and yet they still struggle. We will support these workers until they are paid fairly.”

DIA has now approved the Living Wage for its workers. It’s hoped this could assist the campaign for the Living Wage for the security staff and cleaners.

Other events for Living Wage Week included the Auckland opening of the My Life to Live photographic exhibition about refugee workers. Living Wage Aotearoa is also celebrating its success in getting many local government election candidates to commit to extending the Living Wage.


The PSA and other unions have agreed a memorandum of understanding with DHBs and the Labour Inspectorate on a national process to identify and rectify non-compliance with the Holidays Act.

In October the Health Minister David Clark said sampling of payroll records found $550-650 million is owed to DHB staff due to non-compliance. He estimates it will take two years for DHBs to review and rectify the historic issue.

In the public service, the PSA is working with a number of employers to resolve Holidays Act compliance problems that have left thousands of workers short-changed. The PSA acknowledges that some agencies have already rectified the issues, while others are in the process of doing so.

Contact your PSA delegate if you have questions regarding possible underpayment of your holiday pay.


The PSA’s National Science Committee has recently elected Grant Rennie from AgResearch as the new convenor and Delia Tamsen from GNS Science as deputy convenor.

Grant replaces past President Paula Scholes, while Delia replaces Mark Andersen. While they’re big shoes to fill, Grant and Delia are up for the challenge and bring fresh perspective to the Committee.


Ministry of Justice national delegates met with Justice Minister Andrew Little at PSA House in Wellington in October.

The PSA has also written a letter to the Minister outlining members’ views on Hāpaitia te Oranga Tangata, the proposed reforms to the justice system.

These include the need for more support for mental health and addiction issues; general support for people before, during and after incarceration; and the need to focus on institutional racism, rehabilitation and prevention.

The letter also states that the PSA and Te Rūnanga o Ngā Toa Awhina expect to be actively involved as a partner in the reform process.

Justice Delegates2

Also in this issue:

President's Message

Tēnā koutou e te whānau

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Obituary: Lynn Middleton

PSA’s first female national secretary and equal pay leader

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Working for Free

From November 18 New Zealand women effectively began working for free until the end of the year because of the 11.9% pay gap between men and women.

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Kindly leading the way to Equal Pay

As women began working for free in New Zealand on November 18, the PSA was working hard on a number of fronts to close the gender pay gap.

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Stand Up for Library Workers

Local government library assistants launched a campaign on November 22 to raise awareness of their equal pay claim and the work they do.

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Stark statistics help fight for equal pay and transparency

More than a third of PSA members or 27,291 of you shared your pay information with us in our first union-wide pay survey in September.

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CTU Conference: “We are delivering, but we have so much more to deliver”

The CTU Biennial conference in October was an opportunity to reflect on the significant gains made for working people during the Government’s first two years in power - and to challenge it to go further.

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Fair Pay Agreements will give workers a fairer deal

The PSA and other unions believe Fair Pay Agreements will offer a fairer deal for many of this country’s most vulnerable workers.

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Honours for workers on frontline

PSA members were to the fore as the Public Service Day awards
were announced in November.

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PSAY Hui Inspires Success

Inspirational speeches at this year’s PSA Youth Hui have propelled Elvisa Van Der Leden into a seat at the council table.

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Pasefika Voices on Climate Strike

“We must change our practices of ignorance and neglect”

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“It opens their eyes”: Sector Māngai elected at Hui

There’s a mix of old and new amongst the Sector Māngai elected at Public Sector, DHB and Combined sector hui in August and September.

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Reducing Māori Health Inequities

Appearing before the Māori Affairs Select Committee to speak to the Inquiry into Health Inequities for Māori was “awe-inspiring” for Allan Franks.

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‘It’s important to have Māori and female voices at the table’

From small town Aotearoa to the United Nations – it’s been a big year for one PSA member from Te Puni Kokiri.

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100 Years On - Labour is still not a Commodity

The 100th anniversary of the International Labour Organisation this year is a timely reminder of its continued relevance.

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Your voice, our system

The PSA is hosting regional and online health forums in December to give members another opportunity to have their say in the reshaping of services.

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Fearsome fighter

PSA delegate Kelly Broerse says her colleagues at the Institute of Environmental Science and Research (ESR) in Auckland are used to her showing up at work with black eyes and bruises.

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A lifetime of discovery

Geologist, science communicator and PSA member Hamish Campbell can look back on forty years of “exploration, adventure and discovery” as he retires this year.

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Unity in Diversity

Out@PSA is getting active at Pride celebrations and beyond

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