Information and resources

Delegates are the life-blood of the New Zealand Nurses’ Organisation (NZNO). They are the first point of contact between members, NZNO staff and the wider organisation.

A delegate is a leader. A delegate works with members to resolve issues in the workplace and engage them on NZNO campaigns, to achieve fair wages and conditions across the health sector, and social justice for our families and wider communities.

The professional and industrial activism of delegates is the key to us achieving our vision: Freed to care, proud to nurse.

If you're thinking about becoming an NZNO workplace delegate, read the NZNO Delegate job description (PDF, 113KB) to find out what the role involves.

Steps to becoming an NZNO delegate (representative) at your workplace

  1. To become a workplace delegate you must first be elected, and that means having an election at your workplace. Read Becoming an NZNO Delegate (PDF, 51KB) to find out how to make this happen.
  2. After you have been elected, login to complete the NZNO Delegate election form online. Alternatively you can download, print, scan and send the printable NZNO Delegate election form.
  3. NZNO will process your election information, and:
    1. notify your employer that you are now a workplace delegate
    2. send out your information pack, and
    3. arrange for you to receive training.
  4. Meanwhile you can check out the Handbook for New Zealand Nurses Organisation Delegates, 2022 (PDF, 1.5MB). This delegate resource provides helpful advice and ideas for achieving positive results in the workplace.

What a delegate does

Delegates are key to NZNO’s success. Whether you represent NZNO, Te Runanga, students or a college or section, your job involves leading, listening, communicating, problem solving, negotiating, recruiting, advising, mentoring and educating.

It’s a challenging job but you don't have to do it alone; you'll have support from NZNO staff and other delegates. At the same time, you get to decide how you want to take on the delegate’s role and responsibilities.

Delegate education

NZNO’s delegate education programme is required for all delegates. It's based on the organising approach, and designed to give you the tools and confidence you need to organise your workplace. Get more details below.

If you want to further your involvement in the wider union movement, NZNO has access to advanced delegate training through the New Zealand Council of Trade Unions (NZCTU).

Delegate aims

As a delegate you will:

  • Work to build collective and collaborative strength in your workplace.
  • Represent all NZNO members at your workplace.
  • Represent the views of the majority of NZNO members at your workplace (not just your own).
  • Encourage other members to get involved and work towards NZNO's aims at work.
  • Remember that your workmates, other NZNO members and delegates in other workplaces are also working towards NZNO's aims, together.

Delegate rights

  • You have the right to represent NZNO. You have been elected as a delegate to protect the rights of all members and ensure that your collective agreement is upheld.
  • Your employer cannot choose to work with some delegates and not others. Members choose their delegates, not the employer.
  • You have the right to recruit new members and activists. Signing up new members is a big part of being a union delegate. We know that your workmates are more likely to join NZNO if you ask them.
  • You have the right to organise your co-workers and they have the right to show support for NZNO. Unless there is a specific dress code clause in your agreement, that support can be shown by wearing badges etc.
  • You have the right to be consulted if the employer is considering making changes in the workplace affecting members’ jobs or income. Ideally you should be consulted first, to give you time to come to a position on the changes and how they affect members.
  • You should be able to discuss change with your employer and members, as you may come up with better ideas. After all, it is the members who do the job and are therefore more likely to see ways that the work can or can’t be done differently.
  • You have the right to distribute information. Use whatever means is appropriate to do this. You may wish to talk with people, you may be able to secure an NZNO slot on the agenda of the weekly staff meeting, produce a simple newsletter or use a special NZNO notice board. You could make use of special NZNO folders or communication books.
  • You have the right to represent members and raise issues with the employer to reach solutions.

Delegate education

NZNO's education programme is part of the organisation's commitment to empowering members to influence their working lives and NZNO.

To help achieve this NZNO employs three full-time educators. The educators' role is to work with others in the organisation to develop, plan and facilitate education sessions to meet this commitment.

Some of the education sessions are aimed at those who have been elected as NZNO delegates, to assist them in their important role within NZNO and to enable them to positively influence the working lives of members at the workplace. Others are designed for all interested members to attend. Some education sessions are "invitation only" as they pertain to issues on particular work sites.

Delegate education sessions and associated resources are as follows:

1. Foundations

2. Being An Active Delegate

3. Promoting Collectivism

4. Promoting Positive Workplace Relationships

5. Supporting Delegate Leaders