Three former NZNO Presidents call for fresh Board elections

Media release – NZNO Democracy Now!

6 May, 2020

Three former Presidents of the New Zealand Nurses Organisation have united in a call for fresh elections for the full NZNO Board. The call is the subject of a petition launched today for a Special General Meeting (SGM) of the organisation.

“As the first NZNO President to embed the Memorandum of Understanding with Te Rūnanga o Aotearoa NZNO, which brought us together in bicultural partnership twenty years ago, I have been distraught to see the deep divisions now opening up along a number of fronts”, said Diane Stuchbury (2000-2001).

“The election of six new Board members last year did not heal the divisions, as they remained mired in unresolved conflicts. To end our internal divisions, we need to do more than elect another five people to fill the current vacancies. We need a clean slate. That’s why I’m supporting the call for fresh elections for all eleven positions.”

Marion Guy, QSO (2005-2009, 2012-2015) is concerned about the lack of governance experience now represented around the NZNO Board table.

“Four of the six remaining Board members have been in the role for less than 18 months”, she said. “It simply isn’t fair to expect them to govern our venerable organisation with its 50,000 members.

“To truly uphold the professionalism which our organisation stands for, there needs to be an opportunity to bring in a more experienced Board. I support the SGM petition to enable this.”

Nano Tunnicliff (2009-12) led the development and adoption of the current NZNO Constitution. “Confidence has been shaken in our democratic processes”, she said, “as practice has strayed far from the Constitution’s original intention.

“I support a motion for fresh elections for the full NZNO Board. But I urge any SGM held on this matter to use its Constitutional power to make the motion an all of membership decision, conducted via an all member ballot.

“That’s what we did in 2011 when the organisation faced a decision of similar magnitude, and the NZNO AGM put the question of adopting a new Constitution to a ballot of all members.”

All three former Presidents agree that NZNO requires sound governance to best uplift the health and wellbeing of New Zealanders.

“Health outcomes improve when fifty thousand voices unite to advocate for their patients and the profession”, they say. “It’s only when we are united and focused that we can secure safe staffing and terms and conditions to address the upcoming workforce shortages. These matters can’t wait.“

The SGM petition calling for fresh elections has been launched by NZNO Democracy Now!, a group of concerned members.

If the petition is signed by 1% of membership, around 500 financial members, then the matter is constitutionally required to go to a Special General Meeting.

The petition is available online at:


First published on Reposted with permission.

Published by grantbrookes

Kia ora! I’m Grant Brookes, a Nurse, Trade Unionist and NZNO past President now living in Pōneke Wellington, New Zealand with my partner and two children. Since graduating in 1996, I’ve practised nursing in five cities in three countries. I’ve belonged to four nursing unions – and been a rep in three of them. This is my personal blog. There’s more about me and my time as President at

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