‘Unity, democracy & NZNO renewal’ – Presidential address to NZNO AGM 2018

IMG_1717 (crop)

Ko Rangi, ko Papa

Ka puta ko Rongo

Ko Tāne Māhuta, ko Tangaroa.

Ko Tūmatauenga, ko Haumietiketike, ko Tāwhirimātea.

Tokona te Rangi ki runga, te Papa ki raro

Ka puta te ira tangata, ki te whaiao, ki te āo mārama.

E Rongo whakairia ake ki runga

Kia tina! 

Hui e! Tāiki e! 

Ko te kupu tuatahi ka tuku ki te Kaihanga. Ko te tika ka mihi anō ki te iwi kāinga me o rātou wāhi tapu. 

E ngā mate, haere, haere, haere. Rātou te hunga mate ki a rātou. Tātou te hunga ora e huihui mai nei, tēnā tātou. 

Ko te wā mō te hui taumata o te Tōpūtanga Taphui Kaitiaki o Aotearoa, ā, ka maumahara ahau ki te whakataukī: He ora te whakapiri, he mate te whakatakariri. 

Nō reira, e rau rangatira mā, e nga manuhiri tūārangi, tēnā koutou, tēnā koutou, tēnā tātou katoa. 

======

In English: From Rangi and Papa, came Rongo, Tāne Māhuta, Tangaroa, Tūmatauenga, Haumietiketike, and Tāwhirimātea. When Rangi was separated to stay above and Papa below, the human element emerged into the world of light and understanding. So suspend it in the heavens above, Rongo, so it remains fixed there permanently, securely!

With this karakia recounting the beginning of all things, I began our meeting. 

I greeted the tangata whenua, and their sacred places. Greetings to those who have passed on, since we last gathered here together. 

We have mourned the passing of great leaders from our NZNO whānau, this past year. 

Shortly after our 2017 AGM, I joined a group from NZNO at the tangi for NZNO kuia Vera Morgan. ‘Aunty Vera’, as she was affectionately known, began her involvement with our organisation 18 years ago. She was invited into the NZNO whānau by the then Te Rūnanga Chair, Sharon Morunga. During her time with NZNO she worked alongside Rev Leo Te Kira as they jointly developed the NZNO Philosophy – “Me haeretahi tātou mō te hauora me te oranga o ngā iwi katoa o Aotearoa: let us journey together for the health and wellbeing of the people of Aotearoa”.

Two months later, in December, Elsie Boyd passed away aged 95. Elsie had trained at Nelson Hospital, registering in 1945. After years of theatre nursing in Auckland and teaching at the then Post-Graduate School for Nurses in Wellington, she joined the Department of Health where she served successive governments up until her retirement in 1980. 

And in the new year, two other leaders departed from us. 

Brent South, who died in Timaru in February, was instrumental in setting up the NZNO District Nurses Section, and served as its Chair from 1996-2001. His colleagues acknowledged his contribution with the creation of the Brent South Award. The Section later became part of the NZ College of Primary Health Care Nurses. To you I offer my condolences, for the passing of one of your founders. 

And in March, Maureen Laws passed away in Wellington. Maureen completed her nurse training in Christchurch in 1960. Over decades, she made an enormous contribution to NZNO and to our forerunner, the New Zealand Nurses Association. That contribution was recognised by her NZNO Award of Honour in 1991. Maureen continued to serve the profession, as a trustee of the Nursing Education and Research Foundation, up until 2014. 

Those who have gone before, are with us. 

President's address (to be amalgamated with final slides) 1.jpg

So I greet those gathered here, among the living. And as I do, I recall the whakataukī: “He ora te whakapiri, he mate te whakatakariri”. “There is strength in unity, defeat in anger and division”. 

To the leaders too many to name, and to guests from afar – greetings, greetings, greetings one and all. 

=========

We come together today on Suffrage Day, and at the end of a turbulent year for our union and our profession. As we start our AGM, I’d like to briefly reflect on these topics. 

President's address (to be amalgamated with final slides) 2.jpg

Overshadowing all else in the last year has been, of course, the bargaining in the DHB Sector. The effects of nine years of underfunding, which we highlighted and rallied against here last year, finally compelled us to take unprecedented industrial action. 

The MECA bargaining sparked a campaign of extraordinary drive and determination, on the part of NZNO members and staff alike. Together, we achieved momentous things. 

But there were problems. As we faced difficult decisions, differences emerged between members, and between members and their representatives. At times there were signs of the “anger and division” our whakataukī warns about. 

What has enabled us to start overcoming the differences – and I stress, we’ve only just begun that process – is the precious treasure we celebrate this Suffrage Day. 

125 years ago today, the Electoral Act of 1893 was signed into law. No longer would some have to depend on others – husbands, fathers, brothers, or sons – to hopefully vote in their best interests. At last, everyone had gained the right to cast their own vote. 

It’s this democracy we celebrate today that has the power to forge unity, out of division. A democratic vote can resolve many individual differences into one collective union decision. As we continue the democratic process of overcoming differences, strength will grow; “he ora te whakapiri”. 

But healthy democracy is more than simply majority rule. 

We got through the most turbulent times this year because we’re not just trade unionists. As nurses and midwives, we are also professionals. Our collective efforts were not only for ourselves. We were fighting for a better health system, for all. 

President's address (to be amalgamated with final slides) 3

As professionals we proudly uphold principles, like those in the Code of Conduct for Nurses. The Code tells us to “work respectfully with colleagues to best meet health consumers’ needs”. To maintain its standards, we “treat colleagues with respect, working with them in a professional, collaborative and co-operative manner”. We “recognise that others have a right to hold different opinions.” 

Our professionalism therefore reminds us to work respectfully with colleagues, who may be in the minority. It reminds a majority that others have a right to hold different opinions – and to remain collaborative towards them. 

Soon we’ll begin the business of voting on the previous minutes, reports and remits. The AGM also reviews and ratifies the Board’s strategic policy decisions. This happens because AGM delegates in years past added these democratic checks and balances into our Constitution.

So this annual meeting is where, in between the elections for the Board and Officers, members exercise democratic control in this member-run organisation. It’s where we, up here, are accountable to you, our fellow members. 

Finally for me, as your President, today marks the completion of my first three-year term in office and the start of my second. 

Back in 2015, in my first address to an NZNO AGM, I pledged: 

• To “be accessible to members”, online and in your locality 

• To ”make your issues visible… [in] the media”, including on social media 

• To “strengthen NZNO’s bicultural partnership” 

• To support more members “to actively participate in NZNO” 

I can look back with satisfaction at progress that’s been made. But there is also some unfinished business. 

Our issues have become visible, as never before – especially on social media. I hope I played a part. Participation rates in some NZNO activities, like MECA votes, have reached record levels, thanks to online voting. 

Yet barriers still remain to participation by members in some of our NZNO structures and democratic processes. And more work will be required to strengthen our bicultural partnerships. 

Despite this, it is time to turn attention to fulfilling my new commitments to you. 

The events of the last year have revealed a need for change. In seeking a second term as President, therefore, I announced back in March in my candidate statement that I was seeking a mandate to lead NZNO’s renewal, in partnership with the Kaiwhakahaere and in conjunction with the Board and Chief Executive. 

An opportunity for renewal has been provided. The Board has agreed in principle that a review of NZNO’s operational structure will accompany the drafting of our new Strategic Plan. 

My pledge back in March said that “NZNO will be open and responsive to… members”. Having secured a fresh mandate and a second term, it’s that pledge I make again to you now. 

Nō reira e te whānau, tēnā koutou, tēnā koutou, tēnā tātou katoa.

‘Overcoming the headwinds’ – Presidential address to NZNO AGM 2017

NZNO AGM 2017 Presidential address IMG_6851

 

Whakarongo rā

Whakarongo ake au ki te tangi a te manu, e rere runga rawa e

Tui, tui, tui, tuia

Tuia i runga, tuia i raro, tuia i roto, tuia i waho

Tui, tui, tuia

Kia rongo te ao, kia rongo te pō

Tui, tui, tuia

Tihei mauri ora!

Ko te kupu tuatahi, ki to tātou kaihanga, nāna nei te kākano i ruia mai i Rangiātea.

E te iwi kāinga, tēnā koutou. Koirā Taranaki Whānui ki Te Ūpoko o Te Ika te tangata whenua.

E te maunga e tū mai rā, tēnā koe Pukeauta.

Ki te Awa Kairangi, tēnā koe.

E ngā mate, haere, haere, haere. Rātou te hunga mate ki a rātou. Tātou te hunga ora e huihui mai nei, tēnā tātou.

Ko te wā mō te hui taumata o te Tōpūtanga Taphui Kaitiaki o Aotearoa, ā, kia whakaterehia tō tātou waka te kaupapa.

He waka eke noa. Nā konei, mā te titiro ki muri, ka mārama te titiro ki mua.

Ka maumahara ahau ki te whakataukī: mā te tika o te toki o te tangere, me te tohu o te panaho, ka pai te tere o te waka i ngā momo moana katoa.

Nō reira, e rau rangatira mā, e nga manuhiri tūārangi, tēnā koutou, tēnā koutou, tēnā tātou katoa.

======

I listen

I listen, where up high, a bird flies

Its cry rings out

Sew, stitch, bind it together

From above, from below, from within, from outside

Sew and bind it together

During the day, and the night

Sew, stitch, bind it together

My first word was to the creator, who sowed the seed from the realm of beginnings, and endings.

I greeted the tangata whenua, Taranaki Whānui ki Te Ūpoko o Te Ika. Greetings to their sacred mountain and river.

Greetings to those who have passed on, since we last gathered here together.

We have lost great leaders from our NZNO whānau over the past year.

Shortly after our 2016 AGM I received the sad news that Stephen Pugh had passed away in Hamilton. Many of you will remember Steve and his Welsh lilt, which added music to our AGM debates up until his last appearance here in this room in 2015. Steve was a perioperative nurse. He served as chair of the Midlands Regional Council of NZNO, as the Midlands rep on the Membership Committee and as a worksite convenor, leading his fellow NZNO delegates at Waikato DHB. I will always remember Steve for the strong union values he brought to the DHB Sector National Delegates Committee.

A month later, Sharon Williams died in Christchurch. Sharon worked at Burwood Hospital, starting in 1988 as an enrolled nurse and later becoming an RN. She was worksite convenor from 2001 until 2007. During 2013 I had the privilege of working alongside Sharon on the Board of Directors, and the following year on the Membership Committee, where she was inaugural vice-chair. But for years before, Sharon had been an active member of the Canterbury Regional Council and, from 2009 to 2011, served as Regional Council Chair. My condolences to the delegates from Canterbury. Ka aroha ki a koutou.

On the same day, in Wellington, Helen Kelly died of lung cancer. Helen trained as a primary school teacher but soon stepped up to represent her colleagues as a leader of their union and professional body, the New Zealand Educational Institute Te Riu Roa. When she was elected President of the Council of Trade Unions in 2007, Helen became the first woman to lead New Zealand’s trade union movement – our movement. In the words of Industrial Services Manager Cee Payne, Helen “loved being with our members and would take every opportunity to stand with them”. Our tūpuna rangatira stands with us still.

This year, another great leader departed from us.

Mina Timutimu, of Te Atiawa and hapū Ngāti Rahiri, began her career as a surgical nurse in 1951 before completing her midwifery training ten years later at St Helen’s maternity hospital, here in Wellington. Minu was appointed kaumātua of the New Zealand College of Midwives in 1996 and became an inaugural member of the Midwifery Council in 2003. She dedicated her working life to Māori mothers and babies. She was a visionary kaitiaki, leading the profession down the bicultural pathway over 25 years.

Those who have gone before, are with us today. So now I greet those gathered here, among the living.

It is time for the hui taumata, the highest meeting of NZNO. The purpose of the meeting is to steer our waka. It’s a waka we’re all in together, and we’ll hear more about this waka shortly from the Membership Committee and Te Poari. But for now, by looking back, the view ahead will become clear.

At this time I remember the ancient saying: “by designing and shaping the keel of the waka to perfection, your canoe will overcome obstacles”.

So to the many leaders, and guests from afar – greetings, greetings, greetings one and all.

=========

When I look back over the last year, I see that our waka’s progress towards some of the goals contained in the NZNO Strategic Plan 2015-2020 has been buffeted by strong headwinds.

President's address (to be amalgamated with final slides)

Our organisation – our members, and staff – have paddled hard for Improved Health Outcomes. But headway has been slight in the “implementation of population health approaches which reduce health inequalities, address determinants of health and those things that impact on people’s ability to live well”.

We have pursued of our goal of Skilled Nurses, one where “all graduate nurses, Enrolled Nurses and Midwives… have access to a funded Entry to Specialist Practice or Nurse Entry to Practice Programme position”. But progress – in the words of Associate Professional Services Manager Hilary Graham-Smith – has been “glacial”.

And we have steered towards a Strong Workforce, but getting “employers to implement systems for safe staffing in the workplace” remains a far-off shore.

In other areas, such as advocating for pay equity to promote a fair society and healthy communities, we’ve made the most of favourable conditions and have come a long way. The Chief Executive will shortly highlight some successes in achieving our goals as an Effective Organisation.

Scanning the horizon for approaching weather systems, and developing strategies to navigate the challenges, is the responsibility of the Board of Directors. At the start of last year, the Board recognised that underfunding was emerging as a strong wind impeding our progress and voted to make health funding a campaign priority for NZNO for 2016/17.

This has been implemented by NZNO staff and by member-leaders — some of you are in the room today — as the #ShoutOutForHealth campaign. It’s been our karakia to calm the headwind, whakataka te hau. Through #ShouOut and our collaboration with the broader #YesWeCare coalition, we have helped to make health the number one issue for voters in this year’s general election. That’s according to the latest Newshub-Reid research poll.

Back in April, Kerri Nuku and I launched the #ShoutOut Open Letter on Health Funding. You’re invited to join us outside Te Papa at lunch time tomorrow for the next campaign activity, displaying the 5,000 signed letters and boxing them all up, to keep health funding in the public eye this week.

Turning our attention to 2018, there are two key events which will influence how we achieve the goals in our NZNO Strategic Plan.

Thursday of next week is the last scheduled day of bargaining for the DHB MECA. Fuelled by member participation, the MECA campaign is propelling us forward towards our strategic goals.

But before Thursday, of course, comes election day. Climatic conditions will definitely be affected by this.

NZNO has published a manifesto outlining our priorities for health in this election, titled Nursing Matters. We have evaluated the policies of eight political parties against these priorities and published the results in Kai Tiaki, to enable an informed vote for health.

President's address (to be amalgamated with final slides)2

But it is up to you, your families and your communities to turn out and cast that vote, for your chosen party.

As we were reminded yesterday, on Suffrage Day, voting matters. It mattered to Kate Sheppard, Meri Mangakāhia and the 32,000 other women who took action in 1893 to demand it.

President's address (to be amalgamated with final slides)3

The right to vote is a taonga which our foremothers and forefathers fought for, and handed down to us. It is the foundation of a democratic system, one which also includes other checks and balances on the exercise of power. Democracy brings scrutiny, accountability and protection from leaders making decisions which are unsupported by evidence, or harmful to the common good.

And just as this true for our country, so it’s also true within our own organisation.

Soon we will begin voting on remits which members have put to refine our rules and determine our strategic direction.

The AGM also reviews and ratifies the strategic policy decisions made by your Board in the last year. This happens because AGM delegates from years gone by voted to add these checks and balances into our NZNO Constitution. In 2015, a proposal by the previous Board to remove them was voted down.

This annual meeting is where, in between the triennial elections for the NZNO Board and Officers, members exercise democratic control in this member-run organisation. It’s where we are accountable to you.

There is, however, room for improvement in our democracy. Problems with NZNO’s current voting system will be discussed after lunch, in a presentation from the Voting Strengths Working Party.

A variety of proposals will be put forward, for consideration by all members over the next year. No decisions will be made today. But I ask everyone to listen closely to the various options, and evaluate each of them against the stated goal of creating a “more democratic and equitable process”. The changes we make in 2018 will shape the democracy which we pass on to the next generation.

The 2016/17 NZNO Annual Report also contains an update on implementation of the four policy remits passed last year. Three of those remits have been fully implemented, or are in process.

The fourth, submitted by the Cancer Nurses College, was that: “Clinical Supervision be provided for nurses as per NZNO guidelines and that this should be included in the MECA”

As stated in the 2016 AGM documents: “The remit committee acknowledges the cancer nurses’ wish to have these remits go forward to the AGM although there is a mechanism for including items raised by and important to members who are covered by the DHB MECA.”

“Clinical supervision for nurses as per NZNO guidelines was not included in the claims for DHB MECA bargaining”, says the Annual Report. “This was not identified as a priority by members covered by the DHB MECA.”

I have met with the Cancer Nurses College Committee, to discuss this further.

There are also four policy remits passed at the 2015 AGM still in various stages of implementation. Two years ago, delegates to this meeting voted that: “College and Sections banking systems need to be reviewed and policy formulated to reflect modern electronic banking practices and technologies”. Implementation of this remit is progressing.

You voted: “That new policy be developed to publish the Kai Tiaki in electronic format to align with current technology”. Kai Tiaki will become available in an electronic format following a recently completed review of NZNO’s communications.

You voted: “That NZ Nurses Organisation delegates be given training and support to run MECA Endorsement and Ratification meetings”. As reported in last month’s Kai Tiaki, this was not implemented for the endorsement meetings in May, but following action by the Board it will be implemented in time for upcoming ratification meetings.

In 2015 you voted: “That NZNO continues to prioritise and support campaigns towards nurses and midwives entry to practice programmes, for Registered Nurses, Registered Midwives and Enrolled Nurses, with the campaign goal of 100 per cent employment of new graduates and improved health workforce planning in Aotearoa”.

As I reported here last year, no specific campaign was launched, although some generic campaign activities continued. After last year’s AGM, I again raised this with the Board and presented a supporting letter from NSU/TRT. Given the glacial progress towards our strategic goal, I will continue to advocate for the full implementation of this remit.

Finally, I also remain committed to delivering on pledges I made to members during the last NZNO President election and in my inaugural address:

President's address (to be amalgamated with final slides)4

• To “be accessible to members”, online and in your locality

• To ”make your issues visible… [in] the media”, including on social media

• To “strengthen NZNO’s bicultural partnership”

• To support more members “to actively participate in NZNO membership structures”  – even though, I acknowledged, this means “voluntary work, on top of long hours in paid employment or study – and often after caring for family members as well”.

President's address (to be amalgamated with final slides)5

On this last point, the two co-leaders have commissioned a project to strengthen volunteer sustainability, member engagement and leadership development, after meeting last year with Chairs of Regional Councils, Colleges and Sections, Te Rūnanga and NSU/TRT.

The first fruit of this project to strengthen our waka will be the reinstatement in November of the annual training day for new Chairs and Treasurers. Focus groups were held earlier this year to identify other measures to support participation by our volunteer member leaders. Some of you would have taken part. Over the lunch break, we will update Chairs on themes and next steps in the project.

Here today, we are designing and shaping the keel of our waka to perfection. Working together, our canoe will overcome all obstacles.

Nō reira, tēnā koutou, tēnā koutou, tēnā tātou katoa.

Presidential address to NZNO AGM 2016

grant-brookes07


Ko Ranginui kei runga

Ko Papatūānuku kei raro

Ko ngā tangata kei waenganui

Tīhei mauri ora!

Ko te kupu tuatahi, ki to tātou kaihanga, nāna nei te kākano i ruia mai i Rangiātea.

E te iwi kāinga, tēnā koutou. Koirā Taranaki Whānui ki Te Ūpoko o Te Ika te tangata whenua.

E te maunga e tū mai rā, tēnā koe Pukeauta.

Ki te Awa Kairangi, tēnā koe.

Ki ngā mate, haere, haere, haere. Rātou te hunga mate ki a rātou. Tātou te hunga ora e huihui mai nei, tēnā tātou.

Ko te wā mō te hui taumata o te Tōpūtanga Taphui Kaitiaki o Aotearoa, ā, kia whakaterehia tō tātou waka te kaupapa.

He waka eke noa. Nā konei, mā te titiro ki muri, ka mārama te titiro ki mua.

Ka maumahara ahau ki te whakataukī: mā te tika o te toki o te tangere, me te tohu o te panaho, ka pai te tere o te waka i ngā momo moana katoa.

Nō reira, e rau rangatira mā, e nga manuhiri tūārangi, tēnā koutou, tēnā koutou, tēnā tātou katoa.

======

Ranginui is above, Papatūānuku below, and the people are in between. Behold!

My first word is to the creator, who sowed the seed from the realm of beginnings, and endings.

Greetings to the tangata whenua, Taranaki Whānui ki Te Ūpoko o Te Ika. Greetings to their sacred mountain and river.

Greetings to those who have passed on, since we last gathered here together. Great leaders have departed from our NZNO whānau this year.

I am sure many of you were as saddened as I by the passing of Lyn Latta in April. Lyn had chaired our National Student Unit and the Nursing and Midwifery Advisory Committee (forerunner of today’s Membership Committee). She chaired the Central Regional Council and the Southern Regional Council. Lyn served on the NZNO Board between 1997 and 2010, and she was a workplace delegate in every service who employed her. It’s here at the annual general meeting, where she was such a steady presence, that I remember Lyn most keenly.

In May, two other great leaders departed from us.

Yvonne Shadbolt was the head of the Auckland Technical Institute (now AUT) when it began offering one of New Zealand’s first comprehensive nursing programmes. Yvonne had been instrumental in the shift of nursing education from hospital-based training. In 1984, she was the co-editor of the essay collection celebrating 75 years of the New Zealand Nurses’ Association and in 1987 she received the NZNA Award of Honour. Yvonne remained a life-long supporter of the Nursing Education & Research Foundation.

Judith Christensen, who also passed away in May, co-led the development of three year comprehensive nursing education at Wellington Polytech, beginning in 1973. She became the first person in Australasia to receive a doctorate in nursing, when she was awarded her PhD in 1989. And during the last decade she was still developing new models of treatment for drug and alcohol addiction for the Salvation Army. Judith will be known to many nurses of my generation through her pioneering contribution to nursing theory from a unique Aotearoa New Zealand perspective, her Nursing Partnership model.

Those who have gone before, are with us still today. So now I greet those gathered here, among the living.

It is time for the hui taumata, the highest meeting of NZNO. The purpose of the meeting is to steer our waka. It’s a waka we’re all in together. By looking back, the view ahead will become clear.

At this time I remember the ancient saying, the whakataukī: “by designing and shaping the keel of the waka to perfection, your canoe will overcome obstacles”.

So to the many leaders, and guests from afar – greetings, greetings, greetings one and all.

======

I think that every nurse and midwife in the room today probably remembers their first year out in practice. The feeling that after all that study, now you are hands-on, and there is probably still a lot more learning to do, than you realised. Perhaps it seemed that the experienced HCAs you were now working with felt sympathy for you.

For those without the benefit of a NETP, what did you do?

As your “new grad president”, approaching the end of my first year, to prepare for this AGM I did what many of you probably did. I turned to the guidelines.

The NZNO Constitution says, “The President and Kaiwhakahaere shall be the joint heads of NZNO, whose functions shall be to… Act in accordance with the position descriptions laid down by the Board of Directors”.

And in that position description, it says that I am to “account to the annual general meeting for the performance of NZNO and the Board’s stewardship of that performance”. Although it is my job to account for NZNO’s performance, the results reflect the collective efforts of countless members and staff up and down the country, working together.

The performance of NZNO is measured in many ways. Firstly, there is our financial performance. Detailed financials for the year are contained in the 2015/16 Annual Report. They will be presented shortly by our Corporate Services Manager, David Woltman, who will also take questions. But I feel a need as president to account for one headline number. In the financial year 2015/16, NZNO reported a pre-tax operating surplus of one and a quarter million dollars.

NZNO is not a corporation. Our goal is not to maximise financial gains for the organisation, year on year. The Board had budgeted for a small surplus this year, as part of a multi-year plan to recover from losses sustained from 2009 to 2012. The end of year result was much larger than expected, due a number of unforeseen factors – chiefly, due to higher income from exceptionally large membership growth over the 2015/16 year.

This unexpected result should be seen as a one-off. Nonetheless, it means that as Board starts to prepare the budget for next year, we are more able to increase investment in the membership thank we have been for some time.

The performance of NZNO is also measured in services delivered for members, for the nursing profession and for improved population health outcomes. Detailed reporting on this will be done by the Chief Executive.

Turning again to the guidelines, the NZNO Constitution says that the functions of the president also include “furthering the objectives of Annual… General Meetings and the Board of Directors”.

All the strategic direction and policy decisions of the Board since last AGM will soon be presented to you, for ratification.

But what of the objectives of the Annual General Meeting?

Last year’s AGM expressed its objectives by voting on a series of remits. A total of nine policy remits were passed.

Significant progress has been made over the course of the year in implementing these remits. A report from the Chief Executive on implementation, up until June 2016, is contained in the Annual Report.

On several remits, however, there is further progress since June, to report to you.

To depart momentarily from my pre-prepared speech notes, I have to say I was surprised and disappointed to learn yesterday at Colleges and Sections Day, that the timeline for implementing last year’s remit on moving to electronic banking for these groups may not be met.

Despite this, as I say, I can advise you of further progress on remit implementation. This update is taken from the latest issue of On The Agenda, a report from Kerri and I sent to all chairs last week.

The 2015 AGM voted: “That NZNO review our international affiliations before AGM 2016, in order to expand our global connectedness with nursing unions and professional associations in a cost-effective manner”.

As noted in the Annual Report, the review was completed in May and the report circulated to Chairs of membership groups in June. Amongst other things, the report identified the potential of affiliating to Global Nurses United (GNU), a new international network of nursing unions from 19 countries. It recommended that “NZNO adopt the criteria for assessing and prioritising international relationships and encourage all parts of NZNO to use them”. In August 2016, the Board used these criteria to evaluate a proposal that NZNO should join GNU and agreed to join.

Last year, you voted: “That NZNO supports and participates in the fossil fuel divestment campaign”.

The Annual Report stated that after publication of an NZNO position statement on Climate Change in March 2016, there would be a review of NZNO’s investment portfolio in line with the ethical investment requirements. I can now advise that the Board has completed a review, and has acted to satisfy itself that NZNO’s investment portfolio now contains no direct holdings in fossil fuel companies. The Board is also contemplating how to carry this work forward, including what steps NZNO can take to reduce and mitigate our contribution to carbon emissions as part of a transition to a safe-energy economy which supports the biosphere and human health.

You voted: “That the NZNO become an Accredited Living Wage Employer in NZ by 01/07/16.”

After lodging an application for accreditation as a Living Wage employer in June 2016, as mentioned in the Annual Report, it was announced at a ceremony in Auckland on 1 July that NZNO had achieved this goal. I attended the event and wrote an account of NZNO’s Living Wage journey for NZNO Blog.

You voted that: “The NZNO Member Support Centre shall be fully resourced to gather data to create an environmental scan which will be reported to the NZNO Board of Directors bimonthly in a timely manner in order to be included in the Board of Directors meeting papers.”

The Annual Report stated that timely MSC reports are now being provided to the Board, every six months. The  first of these was included in the February 2016 Board meeting papers. The MSC reports will also be sent to the Membership Committee, Te Poari and Chairs of Regional Councils.

And you voted: “That NZNO continues to prioritise and support campaigns towards nurses and midwives entry to practice programmes, for Registered Nurses, Registered Midwives and Enrolled Nurses, with the campaign goal of 100 per cent employment of new graduates and improved health workforce planning in Aotearoa”.

As mentioned in the Annual Report, there has been no specific campaign launched this year, but a number of generic campaign activities continue. The new graduate employment  figures contained in the report indicate that further prioritising of these campaigns will be required, if we are to meet NZNO’s goal of “100% graduate employment by 2018 at the latest”.

Which leads me to my final part of accounting for performance to this annual general meeting.

A year ago, I stood here – a little fresher of face perhaps, and certainly a little less grey – and made a series of commitments to you. Have I delivered?

I pledged more “visibility in the media” from the president.

The mass media is a fickle beast, which operates according to its own priorities. There has been an increase in the number of NZNO media appearances this year, but visibility does remain low. For this reason, attention has focused more on use of social media and blogs.

I pledged “to be more visible in the organisation and engage more with member groups”.

I committed to “an unrelenting focus… on the social determinants of health” and to “the strengthening of NZNO’s bicultural partnership”. I was pleased to be able to join a small group from the Greater Auckland Regional Council at a protest at The Block NZ open home last month, to help highlight the housing crisis as a social determinant of health.

I committed to “building NZNO’s dual identity as a professional association and registered union”. I have carried NZNO’s professional voice on the health impacts of the TPPA to parliament, along with the kaiwhakahaere and alongside health professionals from the NZ Medical Association, the Association of Salaried Medical Specialists, and other groups. And on the other hand, I believe that leading NZNO to become a Living Wage employer has helped to expresses our union values.

I pledged to “support members whenever they join together and take collective action for health”. I am excited that we now have a new vehicle for that, the Shout Out For Health campaign.

And lastly I expressed last year the hope that, “as members are heard and supported, and as members see their views reflected in our direction… that more and more are encouraged to actively participate in NZNO membership structures” – even though, I acknowledged, this means “voluntary work, on top of long hours in paid employment or study – and often after caring for family members as well”.

Ultimately, it is you – as the members in our member-run organisation, as the representatives of our democratic structures, or as NZNO’s partner under Te Tiriti o Waitangi – who will judge individual and collective performance today.

Before long, we will begin considering the remits you have put forward for this year’s AGM, which may set new objectives. As the Constitution reminds us, “The AGM establishes the overall strategic direction and policy of NZNO”.

But I renew my pledges now, that I will keep furthering the objectives which have not yet been fully met from the AGM past, and from the Board of Directors.

From the foregoing, it is apparent there are at least three pieces of unfinished business: stepping up campaigning for new graduate employment, shouting out for health and investing in members to support active participation of volunteers in NZNO membership structures.

Our kaiwhakahaere and co-leader, Kerri Nuku, will now address you.

Nō reira, tēnā koutou, tēnā koutou, tēnā koutou katoa.

Presidential address to NZNO AGM 2015

259A0890

Whakarongo ake au 

Ki te tangi a te manu nei

Tūī, tūī

Tui, tuia.

Tuia i runga

Tuia i raro

Tuia i roto

Tuia i waho

Tihei Mauri Ora!

Ko te mihi tuatahi ki te Atua, nana nei ngā mea katoa.

E te iwi kāinga, tēnā koutou. Ko Taranaki Whānui ki Te Ūpoko o Te Ika te tangata whenua, ā, kei a rātou te mana whenua i tēnei wāhi. 

E te maunga e tū mai rā, tēnā koe Pukeauta. 

Ki te Awa Kairangi, tēnā koe. 

Ki ngā mate, haere, haere, haere. Rātou te hunga mate ki a rātou. Tātou te hunga ora e huihui mai nei, tēnā tātou. 

E rau rangatira mā, e nga manuhiri tūārangi, tēnā tātou katoa. 

I listen to the call of the bird, the tui. Bind together, stitch together, weave together, those things from above, those things from below, those things from within us, those things from around us.

Greetings to the Atua, and to the tangata whenua, their sacred mountain and river. Greetings to those who have passed on, and to the living gathered here. To the many leaders, and guests from afar, greetings to one and all.

I will start with the thank yous. To those in this room and beyond who elected me to be NZNO President, I am honoured by your support.

I’ve gotta say, you guys must have been pretty sure of yourselves, because it seems you were prepared to overlook a fairly obvious shortcoming in your new President.

His gender, of course!

But all jokes aside…

I began by talking about a bird, a tui. It is a customary chant, among some iwi, for opening a speech.

But here, today, what is this bird I harken to? What is this tui?

It is the membership of NZNO. It is their call which binds us together.

NZNO members have voted for change. What does the result mean – for us and for NZNO’s direction over the next three years of my term?

Firstly, and most obviously, the vote represents the decision of the 6,263 people who took part in the ballot – 13.6 percent of the membership.

And what does this 13.6 percent signify?

On the one hand, it represents the second highest turnout in a Presidential election since NZNO’s formation in 1993.

And yet, on the other hand, 13.6 percent is still a small voice, hardly enough on its own to be the clear song of the tui.

For many of these 6,263 members, however, the Presidential election was not the first time this year that they’d voted for change. In May, over 9,000 members in the DHB Sector took part in a vote to overwhelmingly reject the employers’ offer, and to call for something better in their MECA.

I think these two votes – for a better deal at work, and for a new NZNO leadership – have to be seen as interconnected. There is an obvious reason for this – members knew me as both a Presidential candidate, and a member of the DHB MECA negotiating team.

These two roles were kept separate. But as part of the negotiating team, I became privy to information about the views and priorities of large numbers of NZNO members. For those in the DHB Sector, I learned what you think about your pay, your staffing levels, your professional development opportunities. I found out how you feel about the way you’re being treated.

As we start to supplement the message in the election results in this way, it can be seen how the call of the tui starts to grow more distinct. We hear that members want a stronger industrial presence, as well as a stronger professional profile, for NZNO. And that, in turn, shaped the election outcome.

Then there are other authoritative sources of information on what members want. I want to recognise in particular the perception of our outgoing President. In Kai Tiaki this year, Marion has commented that members want more “visibility in the media” from the President. And she expressed the belief that “both co-leaders needed to be more visible in the organisation and engage more with member groups”.

As I travelled this year to met with members from Dunedin to Auckland, and used all social media avenues at my disposal, these desires of the membership found their instrument.

And finally, we also need to remember that NZNO members are part of the community, and will share many of the prevailing public attitudes, like those reported in the quarterly survey by Roy Morgan Research.

The combination of poverty and inequality emerged as the most important issue in the survey back in 2013, and has only grown in importance since then. It is now far and away the biggest problem facing New Zealanders, according to the poll.

NZNO members work at the sharp end of all this. We see the distressing health inequalities daily in our practice. We see the impact of poverty, and the disparities for Māori and Pacific people.

Many, many things will be needed to reduce these health inequalities. But I will mention two. Tackling this issue for members will require an unrelenting focus by NZNO on the social determinants of health. And progress will not be possible without the strengthening of NZNO’s bicultural partnership.

In a democratic, member-run organisation like NZNO, leaders have a responsibility to lead. But ultimately, our direction is set by the membership.

Over the course of this year, members have spoken, and if we listen carefully then the meaning of their call is clear. In any event, it is clear to me.

At every opportunity during the election campaign, and since, I have stressed my commitment to building NZNO’s dual identity as a professional association and registered union.

In the real world, professionalism does not exist in a vacuum, but always in the context of industrial realities. On the one hand, our professional vision gives direction and purpose to our union organising. And on the other, our professional aspirations to deliver excellent care are given real weight only when backed by collective strength.

This perspective, I believe, has now been endorsed by the membership. And I am pleased to see it reflected in our new Strategic Plan which we endorsed today.

Flowing from this, I maintain that building NZNO’s dual identity means developing confident workplace leaders and delegates who are well-trained and well-supported, based on NZNO’s organising model. And it means supporting members whenever they join together in collective action for nursing and health.

During the election campaign, and since, I have also demonstrated my commitment to accessibility. I will continue to be available, in person in your locality or via email and social media. And I pledge to help make your issues visible, as part of supporting a higher media profile for NZNO members generally. This is the will of the membership.

I’m pleased to report that last night I was interviewed by a Fairfax journalist, for an article on pay equity, and I understand that there will be an NZNO voice in the Sunday Star-Times this weekend.

In demonstrating commitment to Te Tiriti o Waitangi, Tikanga Māori, Matauranga Māori and bi-cultural values, I hope to lead by example – for example by learning and modelling the use of Te Reo me ōna tikanga – the language and its codes of conduct. All the while, acknowledging that the authority, or mana, remains with the holders of cultural expertise in Te Rūnanga.

Because over and above the requirements of our Constitution, it is my personal conviction that what’s good for Māori is good for the majority.

I will be upfront about an area of possible debate within the new NZNO leadership team, however. I will be monitoring how practices drawn from the corporate world are used, in pursuit of the strategic goal of making NZNO an “Effective Organisation”? I am confident, though, that ongoing, constructive dialogue will ensure that business and commercial acumen will serve, rather than dominate, NZNO’s agenda for nursing and health.

Heeding the voice of the membership is not a one-off event, but a continuous process. As President, I will keep listening to the call of the tui.

And I hope that as members are heard and supported, and as members see their views reflected in our direction, that more and more are encouraged to write that submission, or attend that meeting. I know that actively participating in NZNO membership structures means voluntary work, on top of long hours in paid employment or study – and often after caring for family members as well.

But whether you’re in a Regional Council or a Health Sector National Delegates Committee, a College or Section, Te Rūnanga o Aotearoa NZNO or the National Student Unit, I want to hear from you and your constituents. And I’ll give a special plug right now for perhaps the most important group you never heard of until today – the Membership Committee. Along with Te Poari, you are the throat of our beautiful blue-black bird, where the voice emerges. More power to you!

Over the rest of today and tomorrow, the transfer of NZNO leadership from the outgoing to the incoming office-holders will be completed.

I want to pay tribute to Marion, for the many years of service she has given. Starting in 1998 as the local Chair of the Practice Nurses Section, Marion has dedicated the last 16 years of her life to NZNO. She has represented us on the national and international stage. Marion, I wish you all the very best in her next venture. I know you will continue to make a valuable contribution, wherever you direct your energies in the future.

And I want to reiterate that NZNO members have voted for change, and the turnout has delivered one of the strongest Presidential mandates in NZNO history. I intend to use this mandate to serve the legitimate and collective interests of all members and the health of the people we care for, as I have now outlined.

Over the next three years, I look forward to working with the Kaiwhakahaere, with the CEO, with all the members of NZNO’s governance and leadership teams and with our external stakeholders, on this agenda for change.

Nō reira, tēnā koutou, tēnā koutou, tēnā koutou katoa.