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

In October I was fortunate to attend the Council of Trade Unions Conference along with other members of the PSA delegation.

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Obituary: Lynn Middleton

PSA members and staff are deeply saddened by the recent and sudden death on November 13 of former PSA national secretary Lynn Middleton.

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Working for Free

For Pasefika women the statistics are even more damning – they’ve been working for free since September 29 due to a 25.5% pay gap. The pay gap is almost as dire for wāhine Māori – a 22.1% pay gap left them working for free since October 12.

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Kindly leading the way to Equal Pay

For Pasefika women the statistics are even more damning – they’ve been working for free since September 29 due to a 25.5% pay gap.

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Stand Up for Library Workers

At the launch delegate Chantalle Smith spoke of how research for their equal pay claim had found the skills required to do their job could be broken down into 22 separate categories.

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Mana Wahine: ‘Our passion is perceived as a threat'

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.

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Stark statistics help fight for equal pay and transparency

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.

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Fair Pay Agreements will give workers a fairer deal

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.

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Honours for workers on frontline

The inaugural Public Service Day – Te Rā Kāwanatanga was held last year so this is the second year the awards have been handed out.

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PSAY Hui Inspires Success

After joining the PSA earlier this year, the DOC worker decided to attend the PSAY Hui in August.

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Pasefika Voices on Climate Strike

The PSA proudly supported the School Strike for Climate in September. For some of our Pasefika members the effects of climate change are already hitting home. They tell us why they took part in the rally on Parliament.

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

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.

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Reducing Māori Health Inequities

The convenor of Te Tira Hauora Kōmiti, a committee of Māori delegates across the DHB sector, presented their submission to the inquiry in November.

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

Staff from the Ministry’s policy teams have attended UN indigenous rights forums in Geneva and New York.

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100 Years On - Labour is still not a Commodity

Its constitution still strikes a chord for those of us fighting for workers' rights:

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Your voice, our system

The forums will focus on mental health & addiction services, Māori health inequities, and disability services.

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Fearsome fighter

That’s because when she’s not involved in a tough round of negotiations, or doing her day job as a forensic technician, Kelly is likely to be found in the Muay Thai kickboxing ring.

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A lifetime of discovery

As a curator of the hugely popular Awesome Forces exhibition at Te Papa Museum, and co-presenter of TV show, Coast New Zealand, he has also helped bring science to a wider audience.

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Unity in Diversity

In the workplace union members seek to be visible, vocal and valued but for some workers being visible is a risk - not a right they are afforded.

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