NZNO members call for a vote of “no confidence” in their Board

Media release – NZNO Democracy Now!

13 May 2020

A member petition calling for a motion of no confidence in the Board of the New Zealand Nurses Organisation was submitted to the union’s Chief Executive yesterday. It follows the resignation of the President, Vice-President and three other directors of the eleven-member Board in the space of seven weeks. 

The petition calls for a Special General Meeting (SGM) to consider the motion:

“That the membership of NZNO expresses no confidence in the current Board of Directors, calls for the dissolution of the full Board and requests that an election be held for all eleven Director positions, according to the provisions of the NZNO Constitution.”

In order to hold an SGM, the NZNO Constitution requires a petition to be signed by more than 1% of financial members (around 510 people).  

“By our count, well over 1,500 NZNO members have signed the petition”, said Marion Guy, QSO, NZNO Democracy Now! spokesperson and former NZNO President. “That’s more than the number who voted for some of the six remaining Board members. 

The NZNO Chief Executive has said that an SGM will be called within 30 days of the petition being lodged. It needs to happen quickly, because with five vacant seats on the Board it places extra pressure on the remaining six to be able to govern effectively. Passing this motion should clear the way for fresh elections to all eleven positions.” 

Spokesperson and former NZNO President Diane Stuchbury said she was distraught at the divisions in NZNO, which opened up in 2018-19 and are now growing even deeper. “Amid personal attacks and racial animosity, the Special General meeting provides the hope of resolving the dysfunction in the Board”, she said. 

“Supporters of the petition come from every part of NZNO – from the membership in the DHBs, Primary Health, Private Hospitals and Aged Care Sectors, from every NZNO Region, from Te Rūnanga o Aotearoa NZNO, from our professional Colleges and Sections and the National Student Unit. 

“This real unity in action is what can salvage NZNO’s professionalism, focus our union back on the members and restore our battered bicultural partnerships.”

The petitioners are asking for the motion to be put in front of the whole membership, rather than just being decided by the 33 designated representatives of NZNO member groups who could, under the terms of the NZNO Constitution, choose to vote on it themselves without wider consultation.

“There is a massive groundswell behind our petition”, NZNO Democracy Now! spokesperson and former President Nano Tunnicliff. “For the sake of NZNO’s integrity, I urge the member representatives to allow this motion to be decided democratically by the wider membership through ‘one member, one vote’.”

The three spokespeople hope that through this process, NZNO members can move on together, rebuild relationships and restore confidence in the organisation representing 51,000 of New Zealand’s nurses, midwives, students, kaimahi hauora, health care workers and allied health professionals. 

ENDS

First published on Change.org. Reposted with permission.

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