Nurses Union Misrepresents Members on Marriage Bill

Media Release 20 Oct 2012
Family First NZ says that the nurses’ unions continues to misrepresent its own members on the issue of redefining marriage, and is challenging them to produce evidence that they have canvassed their members on the issue.

“We have been contacted by a number of members who are furious that the union is misrepresenting them. It appears that the campaign is being driven by a few nurses with an agenda at the top of the organisation, with complete disregard for the views of the members,” says Bob McCoskrie, National Director of Family First NZ. 

“Both the NZ Nurses Organisation (NZNO) and the NZ Public Service Association (PSA) are listed as official supporters of the so-called ‘Marriage Equality’ campaign, yet anecdotal evidence to us suggests that members have not been canvassed on the issue.” 

“The Nurses’ Union tries to argue that the Bill is consistent with NZNO’s strategic aims, although it is difficult to understand how the definition of marriage is a nursing issue. This seems to be more a political agenda rather than a nursing agenda,” says Mr McCoskrie. 

Nurses who contacted Family First said:
“Why were we not consulted? The nurses union is riding roughshod over the majority view of its members.”
“They do not have the right to support something outside the field of nursing without consulting me and other members first. This issue has nothing to do with what NZNO is supposed to be about.”
“I am a Registered Nurse and I do not support same sex marriage. NZNO should not be speaking our behalf…”
“I’m not at all happy about that!! It should have been put to a vote at least.”
“I am angry and upset that NZNO did not canvass its members on the Marriage Equality Bill. I believe this is an infringement of my right as a member and a breach of their power as a union.  I do not agree with them speaking on my behalf and I do not believe this issue has anything to do with the union. Members can individually make submissions as citizens of NZ if they choose to do so.”

Mr McCoskrie says, “If it was a core business issue, it could be argued that the Executive members may have a mandate, but on such a polarising issue, they should at least be taking a democratic line by checking first with their members. It is interesting to note that the NZ Law Society is currently canvassing their members. Obviously, they are more respectful of their members than the nurses’ union.” 

“We would challenge the Nurses Union to either produce the evidence that all members have been asked for their opinion and that the majority view is the one being promoted, or to stop misrepresenting their members.”

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