The President comments: ‘A member-driven organisation?’

“DO YOU believe NZNO is a membership-driven organisation, and how confident are you that the voice of the members is being heard?” 

This was one of the tough questions put to me by members at the NZNO Central Regional Convention in Palmerston North last month. 

It got me thinking. How would we know that NZNO is a membership-driven organisation? What does it look like when the voice of the members is being heard? 

Eventually, I decided that when the diverse voices of the membership are being heard, then the priorities of the organisation match members’ priorities. Our dreams and daily frustrations, our heartaches and our innovative solutions become the focus of action by the organisation. NZNO works for us in the same way we work for our patients, residents and tāngata whaiora. 

In Palmerston North, I offered only a short answer: “Yes, NZNO is a membership driven organisation to an extent – but it needs to become more so.” 

Having thought about it more since, I can now say how to make that happen, because there are four major opportunities this year for members to shape NZNO’s future direction. 

Firstly, any member can get involved in their NZNO regional council. Details are under “groups” on the NZNO website. 

Secondly, 2019 is an election year for NZNO. In August, members will be able to vote for up to seven directors who will lead NZNO over the next three years. You may even wish to put yourself forward as a candidate, when nominations open in June. 

One member, one vote 

Thirdly, under the new “one member, one vote” system, all members will have a say – for the first time – on remits. Remits are statements proposing changes to NZNO policy or to our constitution, which outlines such things as the rights and responsibilities of members and who in NZNO has the power to do what. 

Voting on these proposals takes place in August, too. The results will be announced at the NZNO annual general meeting (AGM) in September. 

Finally, the NZNO board is leading a review of our current five-year strategic plan, which expires next year. Consultation on a new NZNO strategic plan 2020-2025, which will set the organisation’s key priorities and actions for the next five years, happens in late 2019 and early 2020. Once members have given their input, a final draft will be presented for delegates to vote on at next year’s AGM. 

If all of this sounds a bit like more work, on top of long hours in paid employment or study – and maybe after caring for family as well – then you’re probably right. 

But there’s no easy way round it. Having a greater say means taking more responsibility. If you don’t feel you know enough to cast a vote, for instance, then spend a few minutes finding out. Read the information, talk with your colleagues and work out where you stand. 

If you want NZNO to be more membership-driven, then you have to get in the driver’s seat and steer. 

When you do, then together we can deliver on the pledge I made on my re-election as president last year, that NZNO will be open and responsive to the members. • 

First published in Kai Tiaki Nursing New Zealand, May 2019. Reposted with permission.

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