Welcome from Te Tumu Whakarae.

This is a big year for us and I am very pleased to be here in the role as Tumu Whakarae | National President to work with you in union as we face a number of challenges and some amazing opportunities for the TEU as well.

If you missed it I am Julie Douglas and a long time employee at AUT teaching and researching in the area of employment relations. I have a background that includes time as a national student president, a university council member, and a student in both the ITP and university sectors.

At the time of writing this we do not know who the incoming education Minister will be to replace Chris Hipkins, but we will be meeting with them as soon as possible to put our position forward on the equitable quality public tertiary education Aotearoa New Zealand needs to further our social and economic goals. Our sector is under enormous pressure yet it is our sector that educates the very workers our country is in such short supply of. We are the creators of the future.

The year will build to the October election and while arguably Labour has not been the best friend we might have hoped for, history would suggest that the alternatives will offer less and seek to make our position more difficult to argue successfully for better funding, better wages, and better conditions.

We will continue to build and strengthen alliances across the sector to promote a strong voice on our issues and concerns.

The first part of the year, however, will have a steady focus on the rewriting of our rules. The rules review process is coming to its conclusion. This has been a 10-year journey and I feel confident this year our mahi to date means we are well placed to consider new rules at the May conference. This will be a very significant moment in our history. To get there, we all need to think about engaging with what is being proposed. I am expecting a well-prepared assembly at the May conference where we can debate the document. Please look out for both local and national hui on the rules that you can participate in.

Our other important work continues as well with good progress on the Pay Equity claim in the university sector which will see great outcomes for many of the lowest paid workers. We are also continuing negotiations at three university sites and within Te Pūkenga.

So much work ahead but many hands make light work (well so they say), therefore your continued commitment and willingness to work together for the advancement of our members is vital. This must be supported with much fun, collegiality, and celebration too.

I look forward to seeing those of you I know and meeting those of you I don’t, in person soon. Feel free to get in touch directly.

I roto i te kotahitanga