President's message

President's message

At the beginning of 2021, I doubt anyone imagined we would be in the situation we are in right now in Aotearoa.

Kia ora e te whānau o Te Pūkenga Here Tikanga Mahi

At the beginning of 2021, I doubt anyone imagined we would be in the situation we are in right now in Aotearoa.

Despite everything that has occurred with this pandemic, there is one thing that stands out for me.

That’s the ability of public servants in departments, crown agents and entities, state-owned enterprises, local authorities, tertiary education institutions, and NGOs in the health, social services and community sectors, to continue to deliver much needed public services to those that need them.

For many of you, this has not been easy, and has changed how we do our work, where we work, and how we look after our whānau and friends.

As we look to the end of the year, it is a time to reflect on our journey as a union, and to consider what might be possible in 2022.

The unknowns of living in a global pandemic will affect us all again next year. But our ability to come together collectively to support each other and strive for a better working life remains unshaken. To me that is at the heart of what we do as a union movement.

Some highlights for me in 2021 include our online delegate development project, that by the end of the year will have enabled us to build the capability of over 600 delegates during the Delta outbreak. The feedback from participants in our online training has been largely positive, bearing in mind the usual technology issues we have all experienced this year.

Our refreshed strategic goals have set our direction through to 2027.  There are some aspirational goals included in this plan, which I consider are long overdue.

For example under: Equity in the workplace / Mana taurite i ngā wāhimahi, we have set ourselves the goal that workplaces are free from bias, discrimination and racism at the individual, organisational and system level. 

We have also woven through our goals our response to climate change. Under our goal: A strong, modern & influential union / He kaha, he whaimana, he uniana mō te ao hurihuri, we strive to be a sustainable and decarbonised union, fit for the future of union work.

When delivered on, both of these goals will have a huge impact on all of our working lives.

On a final note, it has been 12 months since you elected me into this role and I still get goosebumps thinking about the awesome responsibility and pleasure I have in leading our movement.

Everyday I wake up excited to work with you to deliver a better working life for all our members.

Meri Kirihimete!

Benedict Ferguson

Also in this issue:

Nothing about us, without us

Members of the PSA Deaf and Disabled network say the new Ministry for Disabled People must employ, represent and consult with people with all disabilities.

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Mourning our Kaumātua

Kua hinga te tōtara i te wao tapu nui a Tāne, te hunga kua mene ki te pō.

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How unions can fight inequality

Unions can help reverse the growing class division in Aotearoa argues economist Max Rashbrooke in his new book.

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Meri Kirihimete me ngā mihi o te tau hou!

Here are some kupu hararei to add to your kōrero over the festive break!

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Kia Toipoto: Closing Gaps

An ambitious new plan aims to close pay gaps for women, Māori, Pacific peoples, and other ethnic groups across the public service and crown entities including DHBs.

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Equal pay delayed is equal pay denied

DHB members went to Parliament in October to push for the speedy resolution of their equal pay claims.

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More ambition on emissions

Last month on the eve of COP26, the government set out its updated international commitments to reduce emissions – which have been heavily criticised for outsourcing our responsibilities.

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Training together online

Every year the PSA educates hundreds of delegates to support members in the workplace, so being able to moving training online during Covid disruptions has been a priority.

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Thanks to the PSA winners of Public Service Day Awards who have shown outstanding service to their communities in 2021.

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A high trust relationship

The Department of Conservation has been praised for having one of the best industrial relationships in the public service.

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A safe world of work

Imagine a world where all of us, no matter where we work or what we do, are safe from violence and harassment.

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Transforming Health

The government’s reform of our health system is drawing closer.

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Leaving a lasting legacy

Changes to labour laws in Qatar in the leadup to the 2022 FIFA World Cup show how international sporting events can help promote human rights.

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“This medal is ridiculously well-deserved”

A wheelchair has proved no barrier to Dr Gerald Rys continuing a distinguished career in agriculture and science that’s been recognised with a Public Service Medal.

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Leading the way

When Sripriya Somasekhar received the NZ Public Service Medal, her citation declared she “lives and breathes” her commitment to inclusion and diversity.

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“The work is changing day by day”

The last few months have been amongst the toughest of the pandemic for Aotearoa, and our members have continued to go above and beyond to support their communities. Here are a few of your stories.

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