Saturday, May 15, 2021
Times of Georgia
HomePoliticalMinisterial Review Of Local Government An Opportunity To Put People First

Ministerial Review Of Local Government An Opportunity To Put People First


The union for local government workers welcomes Minister
Nanaia Mahuta’s planned review of the sector, but more of
a focus on worker participation is needed.

The Public
Service Association represents nine thousand local
government staff around the country. They care about the
services they provide to their communities, but many don’t
feel their employers care enough about them.

Some
councils have recently refused to bargain with staff for pay
increases, despite the considerable sacrifices workers made
over the past year.

The situation is particularly bad
for groups like library assistants, who are underpaid
because they are mostly women. The PSA hopes the Ministerial
Review can support a more joined up approach toward the
local government workforce and progress toward fairer
working conditions – in particular equal pay.

“New
Zealand’s local authorities do great work but there is
room for improvement. There is an urgent need for investment
in infrastructure like water systems and road safety, and
the sector will benefit from more coordination between
councils and more long term thinking,” says PSA National
Secretary Erin Polaczuk.

“The Ministerial Review is an
opportunity to move towards this. In order for it to be as
effective as possible, the workers who make everything
possible must be involved from day one. That means as wide a
range of staff as possible, not just managers.”

“The
review is also an opportunity to refocus local government on
its core purpose, public wellbeing. Too many services have
been contracted out to private companies who only care about
profit, and the failures of this approach can be seen
everywhere from Transmission Gully to the picket lines of
bus drivers in Wellington
today.”

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