More questions than answers

Source: Association of Salaried Medical Specialists

The Mental Health and Addiction inquiry report has laudable aims but lacks detail about implementation and side-lines those who work in the sector, says Lyndon Keene, Director of Policy and Research at the Association of Salaried Medical Specialists (ASMS)

Published in ASMS magazine The Specialist on page 17-18, Mr Keene’s analysis of the report can be read here:

Mr Keene takes issue with the inquiry panel’s decision to be (in the panel’s words) “guided by the needs of people and communities rather than the preferences of the various groups accustomed to the way the system is structured and services are delivered at present”.

Excluding workforce views might account, in part, for a lack of substance about how to deliver the recommendations. Mr Keene says notwithstanding the exclusion of workforce views, the conclusions are reasonable and will find consensus. An emphasis on wellbeing and community, prevention, expanded access to services, and more treatment options are laudable, if rather familiar, aims. The lack of specifics about how to achieve the desired outcomes allows the Government much wriggle-room.

The practicalities of what will change, and how, are no closer to being answered than before the panel was convened, Mr Keene writes.

While the report talks about a “workforce crisis” there is little recognition of issues in the psychiatrist workforce. Indeed, the report incorrectly states there was “a large jump in the number of registered psychiatrists in 2018”.

Trainee numbers have risen in recent years but are lower than in the early 2000s. There is a heavy reliance on international medical graduates (60% of the workforce).

In 2018 there were 492 full-time equivalent psychiatrists employed by DHBs, compared with 482 in 2017.  Caution is needed interpreting the figures because it could reflect an increase in registrations of doctors, including non-specialist medical officers, who were already practising.

District health board workforce figures do not show a large jump in full-time-equivalent psychiatrists.

The report calls for psychiatrists to provide more support for community-based workers. ASMS has long advocated for integrated services and patient-centred care. This approach requires a well-resourced specialist workforce.

Ultimately, it’s the Government – whose official response to the report is expected soon – which determines if the recommendations are transformed into actions.

“The extent to which the Government supports a well-resourced [Mental Health] Commission with teeth will be an early test of its commitment to addressing our mental health crisis,” Mr Keene writes.


Opinion: Why IDEA Services members are striking – E tū

Source: Etu Union

By Nic Corrigan

Most IDEA Services residential staff are physically at work between 50-70 hours a week. This includes weekends, evening and overnights.  Staff will often go that extra mile and even work in other towns away from home, to help out when there isn’t anyone else to fill a shift.  And often during our time off, we are rung day or night to sacrifice time with our families to cover shifts.

We do this because we know these vulnerable people need us. But this all comes at a significant personal cost to support workers’ personal lives, in terms of giving up time and milestones with their family and Friends. 

Now IHC/IDEA Services tells us they the support workers to be more ‘flexible’.  What they are saying is what we do is not enough; they want even more from us.

Members believe they already give everything they can to the people we support, and they can’t sacrifice anymore.  They are deeply offended by IDEA Service’s escalating demands and worried about how much more they and their families will have to sacrifice to keep their job and passion. For many, it’s already been too much and they have quit.

Senior Support Workers

While most people know support workers go the extra mile, some might not know that it is the Senior support workers who lead this.  They mentor, support and lead the team.  If something new needs to happen or a person we support wants to achieve something new in their life, it’s the Senior support worker who leads the way to enable the support team to make it happen for the person they support. We want these senior staff members recognised with a small pay rise, and celebrated for the extra contribution, commitment, knowledge and experience they bring to the organisation.  IHC/Idea Services wants the position gone.


We are striking to ensure the places we work are safe from violence and that there is adequate support to ensure this happens.   Too often our members are placed in a situation where they must choose whether to protect themselves or the people they support from physical harm – and thus we chose to ourselves in harm’s way to protect others. IHC/Idea Services wants to remove a section from our Collective Agreement that acknowledges that some of our service users have challenging behaviours which are a risk to health and safety. If this happens, members feel this will render invisible the fact that some support workers face the threat of violence from service users on a daily basis.

We take the hits, punches, bites and threats of violence and we try to manage this the best we can.  What we don’t expect is for our employer to add salt to our injuries by dismissing our real safety concerns.


Support workers need and have the right to be treated with respect, and to feel safe like every other working New Zealander. We are striking to ensure these principles are respected and upheld.


E tū condemns arrest of journalists in Fiji – E tū

Source: Etu Union

E tū welcomes the release of three Newsroom journalists who were arrested in Fiji but says they should never have been detained in the first place.

Newsroom co-editor Mark Jennings, Investigations editor Melanie Reid, and cameraman Hayden Aull were detained and held overnight at the main Suva police station after developer Freesoul Real Estate accused them of criminal trespass.

The journalists were released this morning and the Fijian PM, Frank Bainimarama has apologised.

E tū’s Senior National Industrial Officer, Paul Tolich says the union welcomes the release of the journalists but says they should never have been arrested in the first place.

“The journalists were simply engaged in journalistic inquiries about the impact of development on Malolo Island and the actions of the police are another example of Fiji’s intolerance towards a free and independent press,” says Paul.

“Despite the apology from Fiji’s Prime Minister, this will have a chilling effect on journalism in the Pacific,” he says.  

“Journalists need to be able to challenge the powerful and hold them to account. This is the hallmark of a free and democratic society.

“We urge the Fijian government to support independent journalism rather than maintaining a climate which supports those who would seek to suppress it.”


For further information, contact:

Paul Tolich E tū Industrial Officer ph. 027 593 5595


NZ Union Movement Supports Improvements to Gun Laws

Source: Council of Trade Unions – CTU


No April Fool as IDEA workers go on strike – E tū

Source: Etu Union

Hundreds of IDEA members turned out across the Country on 1 April standing loud and proud for a better deal at work.

From Northland to Southland member grabbed picket signs, braved torrential rain and made headlines across the country.

With paid stop-work meetings coming up in the week of the 15  April, another strike could be on the  cards.


Salary assessment and self-employment

Source: Post Primary Teachers Association (PPTA)

In this issue of Out in the Field, Hobsonville Point Secondary School teacher Cath Lewis shares her salary assessment journey through PPTA’s Auckland field office

Cath Lewis is a teacher at Hobsonville Point Secondary School. She was a year one teacher at the start of 2018 and late last year successfully completed her salary assessment. She has been placed at the top of the scale. The salary assessment journey for her was a very challenging and frustrating one.

If Cath had not been successful (in being assessed for the top of the scale) then teaching for her would have been financially unsustainable.

Prior to having her salary assessment confirmed, Cath was placed on the U1 (untrained) step for her first eight weeks teaching, causing significant financial hardship.

The fact that most of Cath’s salary credits were generated from when she was in self-employment meant a significant delay in having her previous work experience assessed. She feels very strongly that there is insufficient information/guidelines provided by Novopay to help people who have been self-employed navigate the process. This is something PPTA believes needs to be addressed.

Out of frustration Cath wrote to the Minister of Education and was subsequently contacted by ministry senior advisor Amy Miller, who intervened to help with her application. Cath was then assessed at and placed on the T3 trained step. Given this was her entry qualification this raises the question of why she did not start on this step in the first place.

Although the principal confirms whether the work experience is relevant for the position, the challenge is in quantifying that work experience for salary credit purposes, particularly where that work experience has been generated from being self-employed. Cath feels principals should be able to verify not just the relevance of the work experience, but the quantum.

Given her experience, Cath strongly feels that the ministry/Novopay should have a way for teacher trainees to have an initial provisional salary assessment done based on qualifications and prior work experience. She feels that people interested in teaching who have other careers may be put off teacher training by not knowing what their likely salary rates would be when they enter the profession.

Cath wants to share her story to help others in similar situations. If you or someone you know are in similar circumstances contact your local PPTA field office 

PPTA field office contacts (

Last modified on Tuesday, 2 April 2019 16:43


Challenging new play has community at its core

Source: Post Primary Teachers Association (PPTA)

A school and its community band together to challenge Pasifika attitudes to mental wellness through ‘whanau theatre’

Mount Roskill Grammar School head of performing arts Emma Gillies has banded together with former student Joshua Iosefo, current students, friends and members of whanau to put together a play aimed at healing a community.

Odd Daphne is an original community stage play supported by the Mental Health Foundation that challenges traditional Pasifika attitudes towards mental wellness, giving insight into depression within a contemporary Pacific context.

Alofa/love and generational attitudes 

When Joshua – who came to public attention with his Brown Brother spoken word piece in 2012 and has presented at PPTA’s Pasifika conference – contacted his former drama teacher with the script for Odd Daphne, she saw something special.

The play looks at alofa/love and its varying generational attitudes, representation of the LGBTIQ+ community within a Pacific and rugby culture framework and showcases the amalgamation of Japanese/Asian pop culture community and Pacific youth culture.

A play about making a difference 

At first it was intended to be a film, but making a film is not cheap and Emma wanted to find a way to get it to the community sooner rather than later.

“Josh wrote the script on Google docs and sent it to me. The play is about making a difference. When we read it together I thought ‘we’ve got to get this to people,’ and a play was the fastest way of getting it out there.”

Learning alongside current and former students 

The show has family and community at its core. “It revolves around an idea they have coined ‘whanau theatre’ which aims to heal the community – as well as the cast and crew, which is made up of many whanau and friends directly affected by the narrative of the story,” Emma said.

“It has been quite a fulfilling experience to be a part of this show so far, learning from and alongside my ex-students and current students,” she said.

A focus on family, community and mental health

“When talking about casting, Joshua decided he wanted his parents to play the parents in the show. They agreed, but were really going out on a limb for us because they had never done anything like this before. It was acting 101.

“Since their first rehearsal developed hugely as actors and are holding their own alongside the few professional actors in Odd Daphne.”

The cast and crew are a mix of theatre practitioners, community leaders, mental health nurses, family and friends. They have worked on themselves in the process with sharing circles and a mental health focus. “The show is about healing. We check in with each other a lot,” she said.

A way to start looking at things through a Pasifika framework

Whanau theatre is about working together in collaboration with the community, for the community,” Emma said.

“What we are aiming for is the discussions in the car on the way home (after seeing the show). There are people who may have never talked with their family about these issues. It’s a way to start looking at these things through a Pasifika framework.”

Support from Mount Roskill Grammar

Mount Roskill Grammar has also joined the party, allowing the group to use the school for rehearsals and taking things back full circle.

“We’re back at school, in the room I once taught him (Joshua) in. For a drama teacher it’s priceless when a child you teach goes off and creates a piece of theatre like this. A number of ex Roskill kids are involved, as well as current students and it is great working with them and learning from them,” she said.

Students among the first to see a new Pasifika play 

The school’s performing arts students will be coming to see the show, she said.  “It will be really exciting to have my kids seeing Josh’s work. They can say ‘that guy’s from Roskill and he wrote this.”

A year 13 health class doing a unit on mental health will be going along, as well as an English class made up of Māori and Pasifika students who will be among the first to see a new Pasifika play.

“We’re excited to see where this thing can go” 

It is a show that speaks to South Auckland but Emma believes it could translate around the country.

“We’re excited to see where this thing can go. Since Josh came to me it’s been a bit of a hurricane. All the people on the show are sort of an odd family. There are about 50 people on stage – local people sharing ideas about how we could heal ourselves and heal one another,” she said.

Odd Daphne was performed from March 6 to 9 at the Mangere Arts Centre.

Teacher and former student – Emma Gillies and Joshua Iosefo

Odd Daphne cast and crew

Last modified on Tuesday, 2 April 2019 16:07


10 ways to teach me

Source: Post Primary Teachers Association (PPTA)

Dunedin’s Queen’s High School student Jordyn Katipa-Martin has clear messages for her teachers and peers in her 2018 Korimako/Senior English Ngā Manu Kōrero speech.

First time Ngā Manu Kōrero entrant Jordyn Katipa-Martin is of Waikato-Tainui iwi

Jordyn is a passionate, driven student that is not reaching her full potential in this subject. Although Jordyn is a bright and capable student, she is lacking in focus and motivation. Jordyn has so much potential to excel in this class, but is not living up to expectation. Smart, capable, driven, full of energy and passion. Uninterested, disengaged, lacking motivation and focus. It’s obvious something’s wrong.

Throughout my whole schooling life, not passing is something I had never thought of. I was the kid that did nothing in class and could pull an excellence essay out of nowhere – even if the topic had no relevance to me. I’m extremely lucky and grateful that this has been my reality. I had no idea what it was like to struggle in school and I couldn’t even begin to fathom how hard that must be. But what I’ve discovered this year is that someone like me, ‘the smart Māori’, is struggling to find a reason to keep learning things with which I have no connection. So here it is whanau. This smart Māori kid’s ‘10 ways to teach me’.

Number 1: Don’t assume what you don’t know. Don’t assume that because I’m Māori, I can answer all your questions about Te Ao Māori. Don’t assume that I’m just another Māori from a broken home. Don’t assume that because I can pass your tests, the Pākehā system works for all Māori.

We already know the Pākehā education system doesn’t work. We already know Māori are not programed to think the same as Pākehā. We know by years of never being as good as our Pākehā counterparts,that our successes would never look the same. In 2017, the pass rate for Māori students studying NCEA Level 2 was 74.4%. This is considerably lower than any other ethnic group.

Number 2: For those of us who are passing, we’re just smart enough to work in a system that doesn’t work for us. 

Number 3: You haven’t taught a student like me before. Know that I am not every other Māori you’ve ever met, so don’t act so surprised when I exceed the expectations based on them instead of me. Don’t think that everything I do has to have something to do with Te Ao Māori just because I do kapa haka. Passion. Passion is the reason I can get Excellences in History and Not Achieveds in Maths. I learn more talking to a teacher about something they’re passionate about than I ever will taking notes. I learn more working on the marae than I ever will in a classroom. I learn more from the 12 year olds to whom I teach kapa haka than I ever have from a qualified teacher. 

Number 4: Find out what I’m passionate about and help me embrace it. What I think people fail to realise is, I’m not here for me. I didn’t spend sleepless nights working on this speech for me. I don’t waste away trying to get endorsements for me. I don’t continue to challenge a system that’s failing me for me. I do it for the kids I teach. I do it so they can have it better than what I’ve had – so I can be the positive Māori role model for them, that I never had. To explain to them that you can prove everyone who ever thought of you as another Māori, another dropout, another statistic, wrong. To show them that the sweetest revenge is success. 

Number 5: Understand that I am fighting for something bigger than myself. Despite many of my successes being associated with Māori or my academics, this is what I let you see, what I want you to see. But understand…

Number 6: I didn’t do it because I’m Māori, or because I’m smart and I definitely didn’t do it because of you. I succeeded because I worked hard, not due to my ethnicity, smarts or the labels you forced upon me.

Number 7: I create my own success. If there’s one thing I’ve learnt from watching my older brother make mistake after mistake, it’s that I have to create my own successes. I can’t spend my life trying to make everyone around me proud at my own expense. I can’t pursue other aspirations until I start pursuing my own. Sorry Mum, but I don’t want to be a lawyer. Even though my passion is teaching and I want to make an impact, I can’t do that unless I’m being true to myself.

Number 8: I’m sorry that my success isn’t what you want it to be, but why does that matter if it’s good enough for me? 

Number 9: Acknowledge that there are some things that you will never truly understand. I appreciate you trying to get to know how I work by using the previous steps, but acknowledge that there are some things you will never truly understand. Not because of you or me, but because we are not the same. But that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t try.

Number 10: Be courageous. Teachers – be courageous enough to steer away from traditional teaching topics. Be brave enough to let your students guide you into topics you might not know everything about. Teach us your passions to help us find ours. Be daring enough to throw away NCEA for a few weeks and just teach us. Students – be courageous enough to stand up against the system and speak out about the labels forced upon you. Be brave enough to fight for your passions while staying true to yourself. Koutou mā – this is how you create success! Make an effort to build connections and be daring enough to succeed in your image. So, there it is whānau, this smart Māori kid’s ‘10 ways to teach me’.

Last modified on Tuesday, 2 April 2019 14:53


I feel like I have taught nearly everyone in Christchurch

Source: Post Primary Teachers Association (PPTA)

Honorary PPTA member Rachel Kearns shares her experiences after 45 years of technology teaching

PPTA has around 750 honorary members. People who are no longer teaching but still support the association. Many have retired after long and distinguished careers and doing great things in their communities. In our new series they share their stories with the PPTA News. 

Rachel Kearns

“Are you Mrs Kearns? You taught me!” 

From her first teaching job at the Gore Manual Training Centre in 1970, Rachel Kearns spent 46 years teaching in the Technology area.
She has taught the grandchildren of former students and has often been stopped in the street over the years by people who remembered her teaching them.

From Gore to Casebrook

Rachel trained at the Christchurch College of Education in Home Economics in 1969 and before that worked as a Karitane nurse. After two years teaching in Gore she applied for and won a position at the New Brighton Manual Training Centre in Christchurch.

She loved her job there but unfortunately the Ministry of Education at the time had some big ideas about the provision of new technology curriculum and the centre closed very suddenly, leaving Rachel jobless.

“I took a supernumerary position the following year at Casebrook Intermediate School. This was a huge change from working in a two teacher centre and I loved it!” she said. The interaction with son many staff and students and feeling part of the whole school was something she really appreciated.

Rising to the challenge at the largest technology provider in NZ  

At the end of her supernumerary year Rachel did a part time stint at Christchurch East School before finally gaining a permanent position at Phillipstown School Technology Centre where she spent the last 19 years of her teaching career before retiring in 2016.

Phillipstown Technology Centre was the largest technology provider in New Zealand with approximately 1250 students bussed in from 32 client schools.
“Some days I feel like I have taught nearly everyone in Christchurch,” Rachel said.

Rachel particularly enjoyed working with challenging students. “I loved teaching special needs and lower ability students, they have certainly been my favourites, and I have enjoyed rising to the challenge of more difficult behaviours,” she said.

A PPTA member all the way through 

Rachel has been involved with PPTA since the beginning of her teaching career and has been on the committee of the Canterbury Combined Manual Teachers Network (CCMTN) since its beginning – still serving as its treasurer.

“I am a background worker. I still attend the PUMs (paid union meetings) etc to take the rolls and process the required paperwork. I love catching up with colleagues and keeping my teacher’s hat on,” she said.

“I am still a member of HETTANZ (Home Economic and Technology Teachers Association of New Zealand) and I attend the in-service workshops etc. I like to keep up to date.”

Honorary membership a chance to stay involved 

Being an honorary member of PPTA gives Rachel the chance to still be involved with the issues that teachers currently face. She also appreciates the benefits of Unimed (formerly EBS) and other membership discounts.

“Since my retirement I have been busy with my family history and tree. I have loved learning new skills and transferring my teacher style organisation into this project. You can find me at the Christchurch Public Library most week days.”

Specialist training vital 

Rachel’s greatest fear is the lack of specialist trained teacher in the field of home economics (food and nutrition). “I see so many teachers being put into these specialist rooms with no training or support. This is a terrible state of affairs and is very sad as the students are the losers in the end,” she said.

“I strongly support the union, and am glad that manual training clause in the STCA enables year 7 and 8 technology teachers to remain with the NZPPTA. I am proud to be an honorary member.”

A truly kind and wonderful woman 

Food and nutrition teacher Martin James says Rachel has been “a tower of strength” to him as CCMTN chair.  “Her organising and catering for branch and committee events is legendary. She has really kept the network together with all of the mail-outs, phone calls and behind the scenes stuff that makes PPTA work,” he said.

Rachel also did a lot of home visits to students, which was unusual for teacher in the technology area of the curriculum – simply because they didn’t have the same connections with families, Martin said. 

 “I can remember Rachel privately paying for a student to continue having music lessons because their family was struggling (and loads of baking going home to those families).

“Rachel always had gifts of food, baking and home grown produce for everyone, especially for beginning teachers that were struggling or in need – even providing bedding or discretely providing cash in an envelope if she thought that might help,” he said.

“This fills in the picture of the truly kind and wonderful woman that Rachel is.”

Last modified on Tuesday, 2 April 2019 14:08


Finding the fishhooks in the Tomorrow’s Schools report

Source: Post Primary Teachers Association (PPTA)

PPTA general secretary Michael Stevenson identifies potential sticking points in the Tomorrow’s Schools taskforce report.

Michael Stevenson

The Tomorrow’s Schools Independent Taskforce report ‘Our Schooling Futures: Stronger Together”- contains some positive recommendations on school resourcing, equity funding and support for new teachers. That said, there are also some concerns, stemming from the report’s governance model where it’s proposed the new Education Hubs will be individual crown entities similar to the DHB model in the New Zealand health sector.

Members and branches are encouraged to engage with the report which is currently out for consultation. The platform for comment can be accessed at and submissions are open until April 7.

Here are eight potential fish hooks members should be aware of:

Undemocratic hub boards

The taskforce proposes that each hub be governed by a board composed of entirely ministerial appointments. This is undemocratic and it could result in the hubs being seen as political machines at a local level and is contrary to PPTA values. Between 2014 and 2017, members pushed back against the ill-conceived and undemocratic EDUCANZ, a battle we eventually won when the government changed hands.

Fixed-term principal appointments

The taskforce proposes principal appointments should be made by the hub for five year terms in each school. Why such an arbitrary figure was chosen is unknown. As a result, area and secondary school principals would be thrown into insecure work, many of whom are in an aging workforce and some in the twilight of their career. Since the report was published, there are signs that this recommendation may be changed following push-back from school communities.

School network

The taskforce’s report is critical of intermediate schools, stating they create an unnecessary transition point in a student’s learning journey. Yet, in the same report, the taskforce promotes the introduction of more middle schools. Research by Hawk and Hill (2000) found that middle schools left students ill-prepared for their senior years at secondary school and noted that Year 11 should be avoided as a transition point. PPTA supports the introduction of more Year 7 – 13 schools instead, so students have access to specialist subjects at a younger age.

Primary/secondary resourcing differences “unwarranted”

The report states that the current disparity between primary and secondary general and management staffing is “unwarranted”. This assertion challenges the long-held belief that secondary schools receive a higher concentration of staffing, allowances and units because of the specialist subjects they deliver. This recommendation is surprising given there is a lot of intellectual grunt on the taskforce, including chairperson Bali Haque who is a highly regarded former secondary school principal and NZQA deputy chief executive responsible for NCEA.

Increased teaching council costs

Page 55 of the report details an expanding role for the Teaching Council of Aotearoa New Zealand in terms of establishing a ‘Leadership Centre’. With this new function there is a risk of increased registration and practising certificate fees. This risk could be mitigated provided teaching council fees become a permanent feature of the collective agreements PPTA negotiates, or that the government fully funds any expanded functions of the council.

School closures and mergers

The report proposes that hubs be able to close and merge small and rural schools (p. 112). Were this to occur it would result in job losses for PPTA members and other school employees. Currently, there is political risk for a government and minister when it comes to closing schools. Under the report’s recommendation, this risk would be removed with hub bureaucrats and ministerial appointees making these decisions instead. Think more redundancies and CAPNAs, more often, in the short to medium term.

Workload increases

Under the report’s recommendations, both principals and teachers would be expected to contribute to the education of students at “all schools” in the hub, not just in their current school (pp. 49, 57). This is likely to have workload implications, especially if this demand falls in the domain of appraisal, attestation and registration.

Additional complaints body

Page 53 of the report promotes a new parent and student complaint service. Currently, teachers already face potential triple jeopardy when a complaint is laid against them: police investigation, school level conduct and discipline, and a teaching council process. Having another mechanism to investigate complaints against teachers is likely to increase anxiety at an already stressful time.


Teachers working conditions are students learning conditions. And students learning conditions are teachers working conditions. What’s required is a governance model that supports teachers, students, their whanau and the wider school community – not one based on command and control. Please contribute to the debate between now and the 7 April closing date for submissions.

Submissions on the Tomorrow’s Schools review report close on April 7

Advice for PPTA members and branches on the Tomorrow’s Schools report ( 

Advice to branches for submissions on the Tomorrow’s Schools review (PDF)

Last modified on Tuesday, 2 April 2019 11:47