Each candidate standing for election is required to submit a statement of experience and skills against the criteria in Schedule Four of the NZNO Constitution.
Here is my statement.
1. Desired Qualities
I believe I possess all of the desired qualities which NZNO seeks in a President. My own values are aligned with those of NZNO. I understand good governance, I am careful and diligent and able to think strategically, with good communication skills, honesty and integrity.
I have never been convicted of any criminal offence, either in New Zealand or overseas. I have never been the subject of civil litigation, nor have I been the subject of any disciplinary investigation over my 18-year nursing career.
3.1 Engagement within NZNO and commitment to NZNO Vision
My engagement within NZNO and my commitment to our shared vision can be seen over many years, in a wide range of roles:
• Workplace delegate, 2002-present.
• NZNO representative on the DHB Mental Health Bipartite Action Group (BAG) (initially at CCDHB, later covering HVDHB and WDHB also), 2005-present
• Member, DHB Sector National Delegates Committee, 2008-present.
• NZNO representative to the Council of Trade Unions Biennial Conference, 2009, 2011 & 2013.
• Relief Organiser, 2010.
• Chair, Greater Wellington Regional Council, 2010-13.
• Convenor, DHB Sector National Delegates Committee, 2012-present.
• Member, Board of Directors, 2012-13.
• Committee Member & Journal Co-editor, Mental Health Nurses Section, 2014-present.
• Greater Wellington Region rep & Vice-Chair, Membership Committee, 2014-present.
• Member, DHB MECA negotiating team, 2014-present
• Media spokesperson for NZNO, as required.
Through these roles, I have been active in NZNO’s Aged Care, Primary Health and Private Hospital Sectors, as well as heading the membership structures in the DHB Sector.
My all-round experience at the highest level in both professional and industrial wings of our union, in governance roles and as an NZNO staff member has given me a thorough grounding in the NZNO Vision, “Freed to care, Proud to nurse”.
3.2 Understanding of nursing and the wider health sector
In addition to the NZNO leadership positions listed above, my sound understanding of nursing and wider health policy has also been reflected in roles such as:
• NZNO representative on “The Journey Forward”, a cross-sectoral project to plan Mental Health Services for the Wellington Region.
• Author of submissions on behalf of NZNO Greater Wellington Regional Council on issues ranging from Standards of Professional Nursing Practice, and Standards of Practice for Mental Health Nursing, to Social Media and the Nursing Profession.
• Author of numerous successful health policy remits, endorsed by NZNO AGMs.
• NZNO panelist on a variety of topics, from social determinants of health (alongside Green Party co-leader Metiria Turei and former Labour Health spokesperson Grant Robertson) to subsitution in nursing.
• Regular author and interview subject, on a wide range of nursing and health matters, in Kai Tiaki Nursing New Zealand.
• Health First candidate for CCDHB in the 2013 District Health Board elections, standing with the endorsement of NZNO.
I also have experience of the international nursing context, having practised in the UK and Australia, as a member of four different nursing unions over the course of my career.
3.3 Business and commercial acumen
Good governance improves performance, manages risk, ensures accountability and enables a strategic perspective. But in a member-run organisation such as ours, special care must be taken to ensure that governance is not at odds with the democratic will of the members.
As a former member of the NZNO Board of Directors, I have hands-on experience in the governance of our organisation. I see key functions of governance as including:
• the maintenance of strategic oversight of the environment,
• analysis and communication of salient issues to members,
• empowering the membership to speak up, and
• acting in accordance with their democratic will.
Through my role on the Board of the Newtown Union Health Service, I have also been able to access training through the Good Governance Workshops run by the NGO Health & Disability Network.
I have wider experience in the local government arena. In 2010, I stood for election as a candidate endorsed by the NZNO Greater Wellington Regional Council. And in 2013 I stood for Capital & Coast District Health Board, with the endorsement of NZNO.
3.5 Finance and legal compliance
NZNO members want leaders with a specific kind of financial and legal expertise – one which serves, rather than dominates, our agenda for nursing and health.
Within NZNO, I have attended the training for College, Section and Regional Council Chairs and Treasurers. As Chair of the Greater Wellington Regional Council, I personally prepared the annual Business and Operational Plans. These were submitted on time, and approved first time. Under my leadership, the Regional Council always came in under budget.
External experience as the past national secretary of the Residents Action Movement has also developed transferrable skills in putting financial and legal expertise at the service of a pro-people agenda.
This role involved sole legal responsibility for maintaining accurate financial records, commissioning and participating in financial audits, and reporting annually to the Electoral Commission, so that a grassroots voice – especially the call to remove GST from healthy food – could be heard at the national level.
My experience on external boards serving campaigning organisations has given me a working knowledge of company law and law relating to incorporated societies.
In my role as a Board Member at the Newtown Union Health Service, I have undertaken training in financial reporting provided by WellHealth PHO.
3.6 NZNO’s commitment to Te Tiriti o Waitangi Tikanga Māori, Matauranga Māori and NZNO’s commitment to the bi-cultural values and the role of Te Runanga Aotearoa.
Ko “Cornwall” te waka. Ko Ngāti Pākehā te iwi. Nō Ōtepoti ahau. Ko Grant Brookes tōku ingoa.
No individual can embody all of NZNO’s rich diversity. But as a professional, I know the limits of my own cultural knowledge, my obligation to extend those limits and the need to acknowledge the authority of others who hold cultural expertise.
My deep commitment to bi-cultural values grows out of a 16 year history of involvement in Kaupapa Māori organisations and activism to uphold Te Tiriti o Waitangi.
Within the DHB Sector National Delegates Committee, I have introduced elements of Tikanga Māori, in consultation with Te Rūnanga o Aotearoa NZNO. This has included modelling the use of karakia and mihi whakatau.
With permission, I have modelled the use of pepeha in introductions within the Mental Health Nurses Section.
As Chair of Greater Wellington Regional Council, it was my responsibility and privilege to facilitate the local partnership with Te Rūnanga o Aotearoa NZNO. Te Rūnanga’s role of leading NZNO in the development and implementation of issues affecting Māori was upheld.
As an NZNO delegate, I have worked in partnership with Te Rūnanga o Aotearoa NZNO to preserve Kaupapa Māori Mental Health Services in the Lower North Island from the risks of restructuring.
I have modelled the use of spoken Māori language at NZNO AGM, and highlighted the distinguished history of Māori nursing as a panelist at NZNO Conference.
I am a student of Te Reo Māori at Te Wānanga o Aotearoa. A selection of my published articles on Te Tiriti o Waitangi and bi-cultural values is available on-line.