NZNO's Blog

NZNO elections and the values of our leadership

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Kerri Nuku, Kaiwhakahaere
Tōpūtanga Tapuhi Kaitiaki o Aotearoa, NZNO

Finally, our organisation is becoming more progressive, politically active, and responsive to our member voice. This can be seen in Maranga Mai!, our overarching health and safety campaign that recognises workers across all sectors—aged care, primary and private health, community and Māori health—are all now being prioritised alongside DHB. Maranga Mai! advances Tino Rangatiratanga and Mana Motuhake as real drivers for change; achieving the best outcome for all without Māori losing mana.

With NZNO’s elections coming up (nominations have just opened) I wanted to reflect on what’s moving us in this direction and what I believe will strengthen us moving forward. For me, it comes down to values. What I see making the difference is that the leadership are taking a more values-based approach. That means we’re working in unity, making decisions based on what we’re trying to achieve together. It also means coming back to our shared values to navigate differences.

Members expect a lot of NZNO’s Board, just as we expect a lot of all leaders. We’re rightly held to account to do the best for our members, and to be guided by our shared values when making decisions. We’re all well familiar with seeing politicians and leaders start off saying one thing and then doing the opposite. And instead of owning up to their failings, or addressing them, they put the blame elsewhere. At their worst, they champion false news and repetitively articulate off the wall messages that aren’t grounded in fact, until the uninformed become believers. We have all been a witness to this over recent years from politicians and the like.

To keep building on the momentum we have right now, we need to ensure our leaders have integrity and commitment to their values and to our organisation. We need to be able to trust that those elected will stick together to do the best for all our members. Our organisation will continue to flourish if we continue to make decisions based on values.

The flipside is that we can’t buy into division amongst ourselves. Our members deserve better than that and I believe we know such rhetoric won’t serve us. My hope for these elections is that we instead shift our focus to what we’re building together, our shared vision of justice. I hope those who put their hats in the ring will model the values that have helped NZNO turn the corner in the last year.  I look forward to the outcomes of these elections and continuing to build our collective voice and action. We have so much more to do, and we can only do it together.

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