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An open letter to New Zealand voters.

blog banner open letterPictured- NZNO members and Registered Nurses Phoenix and Michael.

 

This year, we are asking for your help.

This isn’t something people working in healthcare would normally do – it’s usually the other way around. We help you in your time of need – in your hospitals, your Plunket office, your home, your marae and in your community. We love our skilled work, and turning your worst day into a better day. When you are sick, injured or in need of support, you can turn to us for healing, comfort and safety. We help no matter who you are, where you come from, how much you earn or where you live. Knowing we can help is what drives us to work in health.

 
Right now it’s getting harder to do the work that we trained for. We want the best for everyone who comes into our care, but health underfunding means that sometimes we’re not able to give you the best. We are often short staffed, rushed, and need a little more time to give you care. We are sad sometimes because of what we couldn’t do for your tamariki, your grandparents or your neighbour. Many of you are feeling frustrated by delays in getting the healthcare you deserve and expect. We are frustrated too.

 
Together, we can fix this. If health was funded sustainably now and into the future we could improve that service for every New Zealander. We can have a health system where every patient knows that when they need care, they will see the right health professional, with the right skill, in the right place, at the right time. This is the proud tradition of our country.

 
It is election year. Who you vote for is your personal choice, but we are asking you to use your vote to help us give you and your loved ones the best care. Make sure you are enrolled to vote now, and that the people you know are enrolled . Check out which political parties are committed to increasing health funding. Pay close attention to what they say about resourcing us to give you quality care.

 
We are asking you to make health funding your first priority this election. Talk to your friends and family about voting for health. Without an increase to health funding we are all in serious trouble. With your vote, we can improve and save lives.

Yours sincerely,

NZNO Kaiwhakahaere Kerri Nuku, NZNO President Grant Brookes, the undersigned nurses, caregivers, midwives, healthcare assistants, kaiāwhina, and the people they care for.

You can add your name, where you’re from and message of support as a comment on the blog. Your nursing team would really appreciate it.

Authorised by Memo Musa, New Zealand Nurses Organisation,
Crowe Horwath House, 57 Willis Street, Wellington
PO Box 2128 Wellington


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Together we can win; for ourselves and our patients

IMG_1527A message from NZNO industrial adviser for the DHB sector Lesley Harry.

“Meetings are underway at all DHBS to endorse the recommended issues for negotiations as well as the negotiating team and ratification procedure. We know achieving your key issues will not be easy because the DHB’s bargaining parameter is not enough to deliver on your key issues. Please participate in the endorsement meetings and activities and support a decent outcome for all of us.

Together we need to convince the Government to fund DHBs adequately so you are better able to provide quality care for your patients as well as receive a decent pay increase.”

Grant Brookes is an NZNO delegate at Capital and Coast DHB and member of the negotiating team for the 2015 MECA bargaining. He talks about his experience attending several endorsement meetings.

NZNO members working in the DHB Sector are now over half way through a nationwide series of meetings on our Multi-Employer Collective Agreement (MECA).

Next month, we’ll start negotiations for a new MECA. These will not only shape the working lives of more than 25,000 nurses, midwives and other health workers, the negotiations will also influence the quality of care provided by the public health system.

Last week I went to six of the MECA meetings across a couple of DHBs, and not just to vote (only once, of course!) on the issues for negotiation, on the makeup of our negotiating team and on the ratification process we’ll use to accept a settlement.

As a member of the proposed negotiating team, I also attended to get a feel for members’ issues in person, so I could better represent them.

The main issues for negotiation proposed at the meetings are:

  • Wages
  • Safe staffing and healthy workplaces: Care Capacity Demand Management (CCDM)
  • Sick leave
  • Fairness at work
  • Professional development and PDRP/QLP allowances and
  • Outstanding issues from the previous MECA negotiations

Although we will be negotiating with DHB representatives, all of these issues are ultimately influenced by Government.

Towards the end of each of the meetings I attended, the presenters read out the following statement:

Today we have set out the issues that are deeply and widely felt by members as well as highlighted the under-funding of health and nature of recent wage increases in the DHB sector. The financial parameter for 2015 bargaining is almost certainly going to be insufficient to address all of your issues. We anticipate negotiations will not be easy and delivering an acceptable outcome will require all of us working together and likely will need to involve our communities to achieve your goals”.

In other words, we will probably have to convince the Government to increase funding for the DHBs. How successful we are will depend above all on how deeply members believe that our goals are fair and reasonable, and how many people actively participate in our campaign.

Already, many thousands have taken part by filling out and returning the MECA issues survey – an impressive number, especially considering it was the very first campaign activity.

Momentum appears to be building. Signs so far suggest that the current round of MECA meetings have had high turnouts. Discussion of the DHB MECA campaign by delegates at the NZNO AGM last month revealed a strong determination.

Common themes have emerged in discussions at the half dozen meetings I’ve attended. There is a sense that nurses have fallen behind. There also seems to be a feeling that we exercised restraint in MECA bargaining in 2010 and 2012, in response to the Global Financial Crisis and the Christchurch earthquake, and that now it’s time for health to take a higher priority.

If you’re an NZNO member working in a District Health Board and you haven’t been to a meeting yet, get along to one this week. The details of upcoming meetings in your area are at http://www.nzno.org.nz/dhb.

There you can show your support, like the Wellington Hospital members in the photo, for this solidarity statement:

“Together we can win more pay in our pockets, decent professional development opportunities and safe staffing to ensure quality care for our patients”.

 

 


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Valuing our vote

NZNO organiser Georgia Choveaux met New Zealand’s oldest woman and retired Karitane Nurse Peg Griffin at Kapiti Rest Home on the day residents voted in the 2014 General Election.

IMG_1219“Last week I was lucky enough to celebrate voting with New Zealand’s oldest person, 110 year old Peg Griffin. I arrived at the rest home with chocolate cake and balloons and left with a much deeper appreciation of the value of my vote.

Peg and her fellow residents have shaped our communities and our country in part because of their vote at each election. The New Zealand we live in today was decided by how people voted yesterday, and Peg knows it.

IMG_1186That is why, when the polling booth came to their rest home, they are queued up – to again decide what they would like to see happen for our communities and our country. They value their vote.

93 year old Kathleen, (another retired nurse) explained to me why she always voted. She grew up in tough times in mining communities on the West Coast. So she always casts her vote to help people.  She has always voted for increased support for those in need, she has witnessed too much hardship over the decades.

IMG_119898 year old Aida explains that she has always voted and knows it’s a privilege. She doesn’t miss voting because she doesn’t want to miss having her say on how things should be. And don’t get her started on those that grizzle but don’t vote!

Another gentleman told me about when his paper-run was all his family had to survive on. It was during the Waterfront Lockout, and legislation had been passed to make it illegal for anyone to help the locked out workers during the bitter dispute.

IMG_1227So every election he marches to the polling booth and hell would have to freeze over before he didn’t vote.
So after Peg voted, for the same party which has had her support across two centuries and two world wars, she cuts the cake to celebrate the value of our vote.

Each of us have a valuable vote, so let’s join Peg, Kathleen, Aida and others in celebrating that – by using it this election. Let’s continue to shape our communities and our country.

IMG_1191Let’s be voters!

 

 

 


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NZ women – voters since 1893

Nurses  – awesome since forever

Black and White Training PhotoYesterday one of our NZNO organisers, Georgia Choveaux visited an inspirational 92 year old retired nurse about voting in her 25th general election.

Cog, as she prefers to be known, is as committed to voting now as she was in her very first election in 1943. She trained to become a nurse during the second world war because she wanted to do her bit and had always liked helping people. She still remembers her salary – 3 pound five and six a month and she says with pride, “Nurses were worth every one of those pennies!”.

At 92 Cog is still voting because she wants to see  changes in the system – and to retain her right to complain. She is very certain you can’t complain if you don’t vote. She explains it is a lot easier for young ones these days to know which way to vote for what is important to them. Back when she became a voter  there was no television so you had to really try hard to keep up.

Cog has kept up with what is going on in the lead up to the 2014 General Election and has worked out who has earned her votes this election. She has changed who she votes for over the years – and given others a try – some times for better or worse in her opinion. Yet, she would never consider not voting. It is too important for her as someone who has always liked helping people.

So, hats off to the many generations of nurses, carers, patient advocates, health champions, kaimahi hauora and professionals for looking after the health of Aotearoa by being voters. Where would we be without you?


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New Zealand women, first to vote

2014 suffrage blog picNZNO organiser and our StandUp representative on the Council of Trade Unions Women’s Council, Georgia Choveaux talks about how proud she is that New Zealand women were the first to vote.

“You do not have the right to vote.”

Can you imagine being told that? That nature did not intend you to have a say in politics and how your country is run. Can you imagine instead being pointed back in the direction of the kitchen stove and silenced?

Well our great, great grandmothers were told they had no right to vote, because they were women, and what they did about it is one of the greatest tales our country has known.

They organised, spoke up, marched and they signed. In fact, 32,000 women signed the 1893 Petition calling for votes for women, and on this day, 11 August, in 1893 that petition was delivered to Parliament.

Sir John Hall wheeled in the hopes and aspirations of every one of those women. The petition was so large it had to enter parliament in a wheel barrow. The petition was then unrolled, each signature representing a voice for equality, down the aisle of our debating chamber until it thumped against the far wall.

Can you imagine?

Over 500 sheets of paper glued together, 270 metres long, 32,000 signatures with one demand: the VOTE

Just six weeks later, on the 19th of September 1893 our great, great grandmothers succeeded… they won New Zealand women the right to vote.

I am so proud of how our foremothers fought for my right to be a voter. So I’m not wasting that right this election.

I am going to vote at my nearest polling booth on the very first day of voting – September the 3rd.

I am going to be heard. I am going to be a New Zealand woman who is first to vote.  Will you join me?

 

PS … If you want to see if you have any 1893 suffragette petitioners in your family  search your family name or street address here to see if their voice was wheeled into parliament a hundred and twenty one years ago today.

Check out our Suffrage information document (pdf) for more information about the campaign for women’s suffrage in New Zealand.

 

 

 


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Why we’re voters

VOTERS sml

NZNO members from the DHB, primary health and aged care sectors took time out from their leadership training yesterday to talk about why they are voters this election.

Here’s what they had to say.

I’m a voter because…

“My voice counts”

“I feel it is important, you can’t moan if you don’t, my vote counts”

“We need a representative parliament and my great grandmother fought for New Zealand women to vote.”

“We have a voice that counts. If I don’t vote for what I value and policies that make sense I won’t get the government I want.”

“I would like the new Government to stop the changes to the employment relations laws.”

“Social justice and workers rights are important.”

“I want to carry on the passion of the suffragettes.”

“We want to be heard we want our values recognised, we want our needs listened to, it’s our right to choose, others in this world aren’t able to elect our rulers but we can, make all generations of kiwis votes / values heard.”

“I want to see change to stop the employment laws progressing, I want to see change, I want my vote to count.”

“We care about what happens in our community.”

“I want my vote to count and because I care.”

“My vote can make all the difference – your vote can too – let’s make change.”

“Workers rights are important.”

“We care about New Zealand.”

Click the image below for more information about the Get out and vote campaign

GOAV fb pic 2