Think Global, Act Local Government

You may ask if it really matters who you vote for in your town or district when the world faces huge challenges like climate change and rising sea levels.
But those who work in local government say the decisions made by councils can make a "massive" difference.


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Waikato Regional Council delegate, Deb Hardwicke

Waikato Regional Council delegate Deb Hardwicke says climate change should be uppermost in our minds when it comes to voting in these elections.

“In my own view, a lot of people standing for council have vested interests, they don’t want people to look too deeply into intensive dairying and forestry.

“But climate change denial is unacceptable, so I challenge those of you who don’t vote to find out about the issues and the candidates, and make an informed choice.”

Christchurch City Council delegate Paul Cottam says the declaration of climate change emergencies by a number of councils including Christchurch is a great step.
“It’s symbolic, but it also generates debate and signals the need for strategic planning.”


Encouraging the expansion of public transport to combat climate change is one of the PSA’s key issues for these elections.

Our local government delegates see the importance of this - welcoming investment in infrastructure like the rail link between Hamilton and Auckland.

Conversely Paul Cottam says we need to “break out of the shackles of 20th century planning” that produced
a new northern motorway which brings single occupant vehicles into Christchurch.

Paul says growing support for the city’s cycleways shows public opinion is turning in favour of more environmentally-friendly alternatives.


Local Government is also at the heart of efforts to improve the safety and management of drinking water, wastewater and stormwater through the Three Waters Review.

For Paul managing the increased flood risk posed by rising groundwater levels in eastern Christchurch post-earthquakes is a priority.

Meanwhile, Deb questions the wisdom of considering consents to bottle and export fresh water from locations including Blue Springs near her home town of Putaruru.

The PSA strongly favours keeping water in public ownership, rather than letting it fall into the hands of private companies who could charge us more for a taonga that is fundamental to our survival.


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Christchurch City Council delegate Paul Cottam and his grandson Rylan

While councils must put their responsibilities as kaitiaki of the environment at the forefront of their planning, Paul says it is important people aren’t left behind in the transition.

“While the redevelopment of the red zone in Christchurch gives us the opportunity to plan for climate change, we also need to ensure there is affordable housing, and that people are treated fairly and equitably,” he says.

Giving people opportunities to access training, and move into sustainable jobs with decent wages and conditions is another important aspect of the just transitions approach.

“When you’re questioning candidates, ask them what their response to climate change would be at a local level. We want people who favour a collective community-wide response.”

Also in this issue:

President's Message


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Vote 2019 NZ!

Vote 2019 is your chance to help shape the future of your community, according to PSA Vice-President and Auckland Council delegate Benedict Ferguson.

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Vote for healthy communities

That’s why in 2019 we urge you to vote for DHB candidates who support four priorities which are crucial for our workers in district health boards, and for all of us who may need health services now or in the future:

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Let's Bring This Home

But despite these hard fought victories the income and hours of support workers remain insecure – forcing many to leave the jobs they love.

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Te Ao Tūmatanui: Strengthening the Māori Crown relationship

It includes expectations public service leaders work in partnership with Māori to deliver services that work for Māori, and develop a workforce that reflects the community it serves.

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Ask the Minister

*CH:* People will still work in the departments or agencies they work in now. Over time they might see more alignment of the terms and conditions of similar jobs across the public service because at the moment we know there is variation.

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PSA says reforms a ‘significant step forward’

While the Government’s plan for public service reform does not reverse many of the neo-liberal elements of the State Sector Act it still represents a significant step forward. The reforms will provide better mechanisms to enable cross agency work and help break down silos in government.

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Equal pay for all

Equal Pay BW3 We’re pushing for equal pay across our union with the launch of new claims in recent months.

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Suffrage Day: ‘Our members are worth 100% and shouldn’t have to rattle buckets to get it’

“As a school social worker I’m responsible for more than 600 kids and I earn about the same amount as I did twenty years ago working in a bank.”

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Mind the gap! Taking action on gender pay

Gender Pay BW2 Statistics NZ data shows a 9.3% difference in the median hourly earnings of men and women in 2018 - a significant improvement on the 16.2% difference in 1998, but largely unchanged from 2017.

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