The NZNO Membership Committee met in Wellington on 26 March. They key issue for discussion was improving the group’s effectiveness.
The Membership Committee is one of two new standing committees of NZNO, along with Te Poari, which were established when the Constitution came into effect in 2012. Its purpose is still not widely understood.
The Committee performs an important, but difficult function. Primarily, it provides the Board of Directors (BOD) with insight into the views and needs of the diverse membership of NZNO at the local level. In doing this, it has to articulate regional, college, section and student membership issues and ensure that NZNO is responsive to the needs and issues of members.
But it is difficult to articulate issues when they are not being voiced strongly by members through these bodies. The difficulty has been compounded by, and contributed to, a high turnover of committee members and chairpersons since 2012. In addition, said resigning chair Jennie Rae, there has also been a perceived lack of support for the committee from BOD.
The meeting elected a new chair, Hawkes Bay Regional Council representative Sandra Corbett, and adopted plans to improve effectiveness.
Reports of member issues were given. For colleges and sections, a focus of work at present is the development of nurse prescribing. Member issues in the regions included private hospital mergers and DHB integration, increased use of on-line learning for professional development in their own time, and the DHB MECA campaign. National Student Unit representative Sacha Lawrence spoke about the student survey and about recruitment issues.
As well as articulating member issues, the committee also helps to administer the Florence Nightingale Fund to support nurse education, in partnership with Te Poari. And it works on specific projects, as agreed with the BOD.
The meeting decided to take up the issue of voting strengths at the NZNO AGM, which sets the overall strategic direction and policy of the organisation. Currently, AGM voting is by group. So if a member belongs to more than one group (for example, Te Rūnanga and a college or section, as well as a region), then their vote is counted more than once. Previous attempts to resolve this problem have been unsuccessful.
The elected representatives on the Membership Committee comprise one person from each Regional Council, two from the National Student Unit and two from the Colleges and Sections. If members would like issues to be raised with BOD, they can contact their representative via the Membership Committee webpage.
- Report by committee vice-chair and Greater Wellington Regional Council rep Grant Brookes. An abridged version of this article appears in the April 2015 issue of Kai Tiaki Nursing New Zealand.