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NZNO Conference & AGM, Nurses - a leading voice, 20-21 September 2017, Te Papa, Wellington

2017 Conference Speakers

AGM Keynote Speaker

Dr Richard WagstaffDr Richard Wagstaff

President, Council of Trade Unions

Richard Wagstaff was elected NZCTU President in 2015. He was previously NZCTU Vice President and held the position of national secretary for the Public Service Association.

Richard began working as a full time paid union official in 1988 as a researcher. Later he became an Organiser working in Auckland with PSA members in the health and disability sectors. In 1997 Richard was appointed as a national operations manager, responsible for PSA members throughout the country in the health and community sectors.  He took up the position as a national secretary of the PSA in 2000 which he held until becoming CTU President in 2015. As national secretary Richard was responsible for overseeing the implementation of the Union’s industrial and political strategies and operations for NZ largest trade union.

Richard’s ongoing responsibilities at the CTU include participating in the Health Sector Relationship Agreement (HSRA) steering committee in the DHB sector. Richard was also the CTU negotiator in the Pay Equity Principles development process with Government and Business representatives.


Opening AddressWarren Lindburg

Warren Lindburg

Chief Executive, Public Health Association

Warren took up his current position as Chief Executive Officer for the Public Health Association in September 2012, following five years as Group Manager Public Health Operations in the Ministry of Health.

Although he began working life as a teacher in Wellington and south Auckland, Warren has now worked in the public health sector for 30 years. Best known as the first Executive Director of the NZ AIDS Foundation, Warren has also worked on a wide range of public health issues, including the Like Minds Like Mine media campaign to counter stigma and discrimination associated with mental illness, and the Auckland Regional Migrant and Refugee Settlement Strategy. He was also a Human Rights Commissioner from 2001 to 2007.

Warren has a BA from Victoria University, Wellington, Master of Philosophy degree in management and labour relations from Auckland University, as well as qualifications in teaching and community work.

In 1999 he was made a Member of the New Zealand Order of Merit for services to welfare.


Conference Keynote Speakers

Jean RossJean Ross

Co-President National Nurses United

Jean Ross is an acute-care nurse and member of the National Nurses United Council of Presidents.

A passionate advocate for social justice, Ross grew up in the suburbs of Minneapolis, Minn. and worked at the same medical center, Fairview Southdale Hospital, for 35 years. She became active in the Minnesota Nurses Association in the wake of a historic nurses strike in 1984, when 6,000 Twin Cities-area nurses took to the picket line to defend seniority rights.

Ross went on to hold the position of chief steward at her hospital for 20 years. In 2001, she helped lead a strike of Fairview nurses that achieved landmark contract language allowing nurses to close a unit to new patients when it was too understaffed for them to provide safe care.

She used her positions as chair of the MNA’s Economic and General Welfare Commission (1997–2001) and director on the United American Nurses Executive Council (2002–2006) to build support for organizing nurses around the country. In 2006, Ross became secretary-treasurer of UAN, an office she held through 2009. She played a key role in bringing together UAN nurses with their colleagues in the Massachusetts Nurses Association and California Nurses Association/National Nurses Organizing Committee to form National Nurses United in 2009.

Ross has also served as a board delegate for the Coalition of Labor Union Women.

She holds a BSN from the College of Saint Teresa.

National Nurses United is the USA’s largest union and professional organization of registered nurses, with more than 150,000 members nationwide.


Professor Innes Asher

Professor Innes Asher

Health spokesperson, Child Poverty Action Group

Innes is Professor of Paediatrics in the University of Auckland’s Department of Paediatrics: Child and Youth Health, and Respiratory Paediatrician, Starship Children's Health.

In 2003 she was awarded the Officer of the New Zealand Order of Merit for services to Paediatrics, and in 2007 the Health Research Council Liley Medal for her research leadership.

She has been the chair of worldwide research studies for 25 years - since 2012 the Chair of the Global Asthma Network.

Her passion to see all New Zealand children enabled to reach their potential has led her to actively promote evidence-based policies to improve child health, and she serves on the Steering Group of the National Child and Youth Epidemiology Service, and on the Management Committee of the Child Poverty Action Group.