NZNO's vote well mentors start 100,000 conversations.
Subject: Nursing associations (Political aspects)
Pub Date: 08/01/2011
Publication: Name: Kai Tiaki: Nursing New Zealand Publisher: New Zealand Nurses' Organisation Audience: Trade Format: Magazine/Journal Subject: Health; Health care industry Copyright: COPYRIGHT 2011 New Zealand Nurses' Organisation ISSN: 1173-2032
Issue: Date: August, 2011 Source Volume: 17 Source Issue: 7
Organization: Organization: New Zealand Nurses Organisation
Geographic: Geographic Scope: New Zealand Geographic Code: 8NEWZ New Zealand
Accession Number: 266344832
Full Text: Around five percent of NZNO members are not on the electoral roll--NZNO's Vote Well mentors are determined to do something about this.

Self selected at this year's regional conventions, the around 200 Vote Well mentors have been ringing members not yet enrolled for the election. They give them information about how to get on the electoral roll and, closer to the election, they will call other members to remind them to get out and vote.

NZNO's 2011 Vote Well Campaign team has been working since last year, bringing together a variety of resources to assist people as they consider how to vote on November 26. NZNO does not support a particular political party. However, its election manifesto (www.nzno.org.nz/home/campaigns/vote_well) offers members guidance on how to measure a particular party's policies against NZNO members' priorities for health. The board of directors supports the current mixed member proportional voting system--MMP. Coasters and badges are being distributed to members in support of MMP and to encourage a "yes" vote in this year's referendum, which will be included on voting forms. NZNO educators and organisers are running MMP workshops throughout the country.

"We only have just over three months to go till the election," said campaign team member Huia Welton. "The campaign reties on members--mentors, delegates and just interested members--getting active about the issues. One of the things the team wants to promote is the concept of '100,000 conversations'. Research has shown face-to-face conversations are the most effective way of imparting important information. One of the key messages is for members to make the connection between the issues they care about and the way they vote.

"This year's election will be somewhat unusual, as the next two months will be dominated by the Rugby World Cup (RWC). The election will be held five weeks after the RWC is over, which is probably when most parties will release their major policies. It is unlikely much campaigning will be done during the RWC itself."

A political panel is being held during this month's NZNO conference and AGM. It features health spokespeople from the major parties Health Minister Tony Ryall, Wellington Central Labour Party MP Grant Robertson, Green Party MP Kevin Hague and Maori Party co-leader Taffana Turia. A DVD filmed at AGM will include the debate and short interviews with delegates responding to the question: "What are the issues making you vote this election?" The DVD will be available on NZNO's website from early September and used in worksites across the country as an awareness-raising tool.

Quality Care for Older New Zealanders--the focus for NZNO's and the Service and Food Workers' Union aged care charter--is a significant part of the election campaign. The charter calls on the government to property fund aged-care services, to set compulsory safe staffing levels in aged-care facilities, to ensure fair pay and conditions for aged-care workers, to establish one nationally recognised training and education programme for all aged-care staff, and to ensure any government funding for aged care is used to improve conditions for staff and the personal care of residents.

"NZNO does not believe caring for the elderly should be done on the cheap. People doing similar work should get paid similar wages," Welton said.

A charter day of action is planned for September 2, with all signed charters to be presented to Parliament on September 2g. Copies of the charter are available from all NZNO offices and can be signed online through the NZNO website www.nzno.org.nz/charter.

Hot election topics are being picked up in NZNO's epostcards, also available on its website.

These can be emailed to friends and various MPs, and cover such topics as employment law, pay equity and nurse-entry-to-practice programmes.

NZNO is registered as an election promoter or third party in terms of the Electoral Finance Act 2010. This is because its various election resources are considered promotional and are likely to cost more than $12,000.
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