Nurses, Champions for change. 17 - 18 September 2014, Michael Fowler Centre, Wellington. NZNO Conference


Lee Thomas

Keynote Speaker

Lee Thomas is the Federal Secretary of the Australian Nursing and Midwifery Federation (ANMF), the second largest, and fastest growing union in Australia.

Lee’s priority for the ANMF is to ensure that it is one of the strongest industrial, political, professional and campaigning unions in Australia. Membership growth in the private and aged care sectors and increasing members power are paramount to Lee and the ANMF.

Lee commenced nursing as a personal care attendant in aged care and completed her general nurse and midwifery education in Adelaide. Lee also holds a Bachelor of Nursing and a neonatology certificate, is a registered midwife, and is currently studying a law degree.

Prior to taking on her current role Lee was ANMF’s Assistant Federal Secretary and served as Branch Secretary of the Australian Nursing Federation (SA Branch) for eight years, where she focused on membership growth and enterprise bargaining across all sectors.

Helen Kelly

Helen Kelly

Helen Kelly has been President of the Council of Trade Unions since 2007.

Helen was born in Wellington with unionism and politics running in her blood. Helen’s family has a long and proud history of involvement in unions and the struggle to improve the lives of working people.

Helen holds an LLB from Victoria University and is also a qualified teacher. It was in the teaching unions that her long professional involvement with the union movement began, holding senior office with both the New Zealand Institute of Education and the Association of University Staff. Helen was the youngest woman ever to be appointed as a general secretary a position she held at AUS for five years until her election as CTU President.

She is the CTU’s chief spokesperson on a wide range of issues affecting workers in New Zealand.  She is a vigorous advocate for women’s pay and employment equity through legislative and social change. Helen is deeply committed to highlighting the importance of having safe and healthy workplaces. A tangible example of this work is her deep involvement and commitment to highlighting the dangers in the forestry industry.

Helen is responsible for CTU international work through the International Trade Union Congress and is a member of the governing body of the International Labour Organisation.

View Helen's presentation

Philippa Gander

Philippa is a Research Professor and Director 

of the Sleep/Wake Research Centre at Massey Wellington. She received her PhD in chronobiology from the University of Auckland in 1980. Following a Senior Fulbright Fellowship at Harvard Medical School (1980-1982), she joined the Fatigue Countermeasures Program at NASA. In 1996, she was awarded a Repatriation Fellowship by the Health Research Council and returned to New Zealand.

Philippa has a particular interest in applying science to improve occupational safety and health in 24/7 work and has received a number international awards. These include a NASA Group Achievement Award with the Fatigue Countermeasures Program (1993), a BP International Chairman’s Award for Safety Performance, for a fatigue management program for heavy vehicle drivers (1998), and the Flight Safety Foundation’s Human Factors Award in recognition of her contributions to global aviation safety (2012). 

View Philippa's presentation

Dr Jane Kelsey

Dr Jane Kelsey is a professor of law, policy and international economic regulation at the Faculty of Law at the University of Auckland. Her research centres on neoliberal globalisation, in particular the interface between trade in services and investment agreements and domestic policy.

Jane has been actively monitoring the many health related aspects of the Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement. In May 2012 she completed a detailed report entitled International Trade Law and Tobacco Control as part of the Turanga project led by the School of Population Health at the University of Auckland, and funded by the Ministry of Health and Health Research Council.

View Jane's presentation

Political panel

(L - R)

  • Richard Harman - Panel chair
  • Hon Annette King - Labour Party
  • Barbara Stewart MP - NZ First
  • Hon Kevin Hague - Green Party
  • Marama Fox - Māori Party