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Abysmal voting turnout.

IT IS heartening to note NZNO has finished the last financial year in a strong position. It is also encouraging to see membership numbers have increased to 46,778, with an average annual subscription fee of $375.57. This makes me hope we can finally address a major weakness we have, ie poor voting turnout.

Our voting turnout has been, with respect, abysmal whenever it comes to district health board pay negotiations. Nurses trickle into the meetings in dribs and drabs, listen and contribute with fervour, and then place their vote. Our NZNO delegates are our voices, and we need to be behind them. Why aren't we turning up in greater numbers? That is the question I and many others have been asking, when we are told approximately one third of all nurses actually voted. This is unacceptable and now we have the resources to research the reasons for this low voter turnout.

I propose NZNO sends a blanket email to its members asking two questions:

* Did you vote during the last negotiations?

* If you didn't vote, why not? a) did not know there was a meeting; b) was unable to get away from work; c) was unable to attend due to personal reasons; d) other (please state the reason).

The aim should be to gain a response from at least 70 per cent of NZNO members, to determine a true picture of the reasons. This means chasing up those who don't respond to the first email with another email, letter or phone call. Our strength is in our numbers. If we don't show strength and unity, we will be offered less than we are worth. This is a very important issue, which I have brought up at union and negotiation meetings and even on the NZNO website. The silence has been deafening and I can only assume it was a cost/ manpower problem. We must not continue to expect poor voter turnout to be the norm and give up. I refuse to believe the majority of NZNO members are apathetic.

Alana Whiting, RN, New Plymouth

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Title Annotation:Tell us what you think
Author:Whiting, Alana
Publication:Kai Tiaki: Nursing New Zealand
Article Type:Letter to the editor
Date:Nov 1, 2015
Words:346
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