Wednesday, February 28, 2024

PSA says local government review must focus on workers

The Public Service Association (PSA) has welcomed a planned Government review of New Zealand’s local government sector, but says a greater focus on worker participation is needed.

The PSA represents 9,000 local government staff around the country.

It said some councils had recently refused to bargain with staff for pay increases, despite the considerable sacrifices workers made over the past year during the COVID-19 pandemic.

“New Zealand’s local authorities do great work but there is room for improvement,” says PSA National Secretary, Erin Polaczuk (pictured).

“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.

“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.”

She said the review was 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,” Ms Polaczuk said.

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