Delegate resources

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

Being a delegate is a leadership position. You work 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.

Professional and industrial activism is the key to achieving our vision: freed to care, proud to nurse.

Become a Workplace Delegate (Representative)

The first thing you need to do is have an election at your workplace. Download the NZNO Delegate election form below, get it completed and send it back to NZNO.

All elected delegates are able to receive training. For more information see:

What being a Delegate means

The role of the delegate is 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. To do it well you need support from NZNO staff and other delegates, but it is you who decides what is realistic. Set yourself up to succeed and decide how you want to take on the delegate’s role and responsibilities.

NZNO’s delegate training programme is based on the organising approach. It is designed to give delegates the tools and confidence to organise their workplaces. You are required to attend training as part of your delegate’s role.

Through the New Zealand Council of Trade Unions (NZCTU), NZNO has access to advanced delegate training for those who want to further their involvement in the wider union movement.

The key to being a delegate is building strength in your workplace. You are not alone. Your workmates, NZNO members and delegates in other workplaces are also working towards this aim, together.

Your aim as a Delegate

As you represent all your members, it is important to represent the views of the majority and not just your own views. Always aim to involve other members to take responsibility for NZNO at work.

Delegates’ 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 enable 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 a 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.

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Organising Tools

  • Delegates Handbook (PDF, 2MB): This handbook is a resource for delegates. It provides helpful advice and ideas for achieving positive results in the workplace. Updated December 2013.

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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

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