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Hardship, hope, and why journalism still matters – Rebecca Macfie

UnionAID held its Annual Peter Conway Memorial Lecture on 3 August 2023, with guest speaker, Rebecca Macfie, on hardship, hope, and why journalism still matters.

This annual memorial lecture is hosted by UnionAID in honour of Peter Conway; trade union leader, economist, internationalist and founding trustee of UnionAID who sadly died in 2015. Peter dedicated his life to advocating for working people and these annual lectures keep that mission alive.

You can see a recording of the lecture and read the transcript below.

Links to the Hardship & Hope series by Rebecca Macfie

Transcript

So thank you for the invitation to be here tonight.  My initial response on being asked to give something called a lecture is to curl up into the corner and think up excuses. But I did kind of snap out of that reasonably quickly because, being invited to speak in the memory of Peter Conway is not to be taken lightly.

It’s a huge honour and privilege. I didn’t know Peter well.  I was a young labour reporter in the early nineties, when Peter was at the NDU. So we would have occasional, you know, phone conversations, phone interviews, phoners,  and sometimes when he was at the CTU as an economist. And we crossed paths again quite briefly in 2013 in the long shadow of Pike, of course, at that stage. So I really feel like I got to know Peter better posthumously when I was working on the Helen Kelly biography and thanks to Liz who pointed me to a lot of the important work that Peter had done.

So not just reading through his economic bulletins, but research papers, book chapters that I might not have come across otherwise. And really talking to a lot of the people who knew him well and loved him. And of course it was Peter who really drove the CTU publication of a piece of work called Under Pressure, which is still, I think, the definitive exploration of precarious work in New Zealand. And it’s spread into more and more sectors and its role in punching holes in the statutory floor of wages and conditions for people who live by their labour. And it was a story that Peter was very passionate about. I know. And he wanted told. And that report certainly in my mind, has lived on as an important piece.

And it was very influential for me.  And a piece that I did about 18 months ago, a long piece in North and South, which I called simply, Bad Jobs. We get to do that kind of thing in journalism, come up with snappy titles.

And another really important piece of Peter’s work, which I went back to over and over when I was working on Helen’s biography and focusing on the 1990s, was his thesis on the impact of the employment contracts act on the wages of supermarket workers. It told the story in clinical meticulous detail of how the collapse of collective bargaining hit the pay and conditions of those workers, which of course was rapidly, severely, systematically, and deliberately. So to Liz, who I know is online, Rosa, Sean, and Maddy, to the wider whanau, Peter’s colleagues and all of those who he stood with – thank you for having me.

So hardship, hope, and why journalism matters. Why journalism, in fact, still matters. This is an in joke between me and Eileen Brown. When Eileen asked me for a title for this talk so that the team could put out a flyer I sent back Hardship, hope and why journalism still matters. And Eileen replied and asked, do I need the word ‘still’? This was the mark of a good sub hunting out redundancy and searching for economy. I replied, yes, please, I do. Please keep, I said, the ‘still’ is a nod to hate and distrust towards the media. I was saying that that sentiment is strong, but that the craft remains and continues to be pursued with excellence and still matters. But I didn’t do the reply all thing, and my reply didn’t get to the person who was doing the flyer and the title went out without the ‘still’. Anyway, it was fine because in my view both are true. It matters, but also despite everything, it still matters.

There is a lot of despair about the state of the media. Complaints about shallow reporting bias beat up salaciousness and a smudgy, and all too often absent line between reporting and opinion, quite likely some of you here have jumped on your Facebook or Twitter feeds from time to time to rail against shabby media work or sensationalism, or the absence of reporting at all on a worthy topic. And quite possibly you’ve jumped on your feeds and had a go at journalists in general. And I think when I started in journalism in 1998, journalists were among the people least trusted by the public. Generally, we  were down in the bottom of the rankings alongside used car salespeople. So on one level, what’s happening now is not new, but the surveys really are concerning.

Trust in news  is declining in 2020 , 53 % of New Zealand trusted news in general in 2023, 42%. News avoidance is high in New Zealand, completed with internationally, these are figures from the Trust and News report from AUT’s  Research Centre for Journalism, Media and Democracy. 86% concerned about fake news. 94% concerned about poor journalism and about stories where facts are spun  to push a particular agenda. People said things like news feels depressing and biased, and it increases anxiety. It can be repetitive, boring, and overly dramatic. I have spent 35 years working as a journalist and I can relate completely with many of the reasons that people cite for their loss of faith in our industry.

I don’t really remember what was exactly going on when I told Eileen that the word ‘still’ mattered in the title, but quite likely I was doing something like shouting at my smartphone screen about stories, describing the bottoming out of house prices, framed as this is somehow a good thing and that falling prices are somehow a bad thing because you know, there’s always the question for whom and whose interest is the narrative framed.

I do know that just a few days later, there was a story that blew up that spoke directly to my attachment to the word ‘still’, and you might recall the ruckus that went up about the equity justice in the health sector . This is, I think early last month from memory. So what happened here was a major news outlet promoted as a scoop that doctors were now told to prioritise the treatment of Māori and Pacific peoples ahead of others.

The story led News Talk ZB  and The Herald and hung around setting the news agenda that day, and I think probably longer. It was presented as ‘ race -based healthcare’. The story said ‘Auckland surgeons are now required to consider a patient’s ethnicity alongside other factors when deciding who should get an operation first’. Continuing on… ‘several surgeons’, dunno how many or who they were, ‘ are upset by the policy’, which was introduced in Auckland in February and gave priority  to Māori and Pacific Island patients on the grounds that they have historically had unequal access to healthcare. One surgeon said he was ‘disgusted’ by the new ranking system and that it’s ‘ethically challenging to treat anyone based on race’.

Now, the story did have some useful explanation and nuance further down, but the top slab of the story had done the heavy lifting. So soon people were calling in to express outrage at this racist apartheid system. There’s a business model at work here, which I think of as a bit like a pyramid scheme. So Barry Soper and Jason Walls , the reporters who had the scoop seated the outrage Mike Hosking the piled in with, ‘if you’re a Māori, you get to the front of the queue’. Kate Hawkesby, his wife, then has her own radio show. Surgeons, she says, are being dictated to about who got surgery first. Kerry Woodham piles in adding for a laugh that she’s going to run an ethnic quota of her call-in lines for Māori only. So hours of headlines blaring with shock and outrage.

Aside from being inflammatory and misleading in its framing, the story was also not a scoop. The New Zealand Herald’s outstanding health reporter had laid out the issue and the equity mechanism two years earlier. In a few hours after the original clickbait went up, that same reporter had written another sober and detailed piece explaining it all again, showing that it didn’t put Māori and Pacific at the top of the queue in citing key data and research.

I wasn’t the only journalist shouting at my own industry while all this was going on. The best take on it was from a brilliant writer, Connie Buchanan at E-Tangata , who called it quote, ‘piss poor journalism’, but it promised a shit load of clicks. We can do that kind of thing in journalism too, that you can’t do, and you know, polite circles.

She wrote, nevermind that ethnicity is included in the equity adjuster tool because it’s a proven independent factor in health outcomes. Nevermind that health inequalities are based on ethnicity cost the health system over 860 million a year, and everyone agrees targeted action is needed and on the matter of framing, she said there were a hundred ways that that story could have been written.

For instance, ‘New tool aims to address unequal surgery wait times for rural poor Māori and Pacific people’. But no, and I’m going to read her analysis here because it is so bang on. She said these guys knew exactly what they were doing. They knew how to set the story up. So it started out looking a bit like health news, but really was a lot more like politics. New stories, she said, don’t just pre-exist somewhere out there, walking around, intact and whole, waiting for an equal chance to step through the door of a media outlet and into the public domain. They exist in tiny bits and pieces among heaps of junk and distortions and agendas, and the bits are selected, assessed, ranked, and assembled according to the rigor and professionalism or whim and worldview of the journalists and outlets involved. Those reporters, she said, chose to construct a pretty ugly beast out of their scraps. The Herald chose to parade it, then they stepped back and let everyone else feed on it until the whole thing became something big and real seeming enough to cause genuine uncertainty and fear. Nevermind that lifting Māori and Pacific up won’t push others down.

Nevermind all of that. They went ahead anyway and isolated in ethnicity. Used one or two anonymous voices to attack that aspect, and then piled up the article with on the back foot justifications from the Health Minister, Te Whatu Ora, and others.

So why do I bother with this example in a talk about hardship and hope and why journalism matters still? The  media  industry has been a, in a state of constant severe disruption for two thirds of my career. The newspaper business model that I came into, when I got my first reporting job in 1988 and when my J2 award wage was paid for largely out of the rivers of gold classified advertising in the back of the paper has gone.

And as the internet became ubiquitous, the industry gave our complex expensive to make product away for free. You all got used to it and you all came to expect it. A chunk of print advertising moved online, but it wasn’t like for like, and  according to a report for the Ministry of Culture and Heritage recently, news publishers have generated only a dollar in digital advertising revenue for every $4 that they lost in print advertising since 2003.

So the media industry has done what any business does when there’s a revenue crunch it got rid of workers. The number of journalists in New Zealand fell by 52% between 2000 and 2018, and job security remains a constant issue. Almost a quarter of journalists are concerned about losing their job in the next year according to a Massey survey.

And of course, meanwhile, Google and Facebook make money off our work without paying for it, and our industry had to turn around after all those years and try and convince you all that the news you’ve been getting for free all this time you now needed to pay for. A few years ago, Paul Thompson at RNZ wrote that the news industry was at risk of becoming quote, ‘content tenants in our own lands’.

He said, pseudo journalism, PR , spin doctrine, and all the more malign forms of propaganda that seek to co-opt the credibility of legitimate news is a constant threat. Well, he wrote that in 2018, which feels like some kind of an eternity ago. At that stage, I hadn’t even heard of 8 Chan or Telegram. It was a year or so before a terrorist slaughtered 51 people at prayer in two mosques in my hometown before Covid, before Counterspin Media and before the occupation at Parliament.

I’m not any kind of expert on the media as an industry. I’m not even across who owns what or what ructions are going on in this mahogany row. I’m simply talking from my perspective as someone who has worked in the print industry, in the print media for three and a half decades while these tectonic changes have gone on.

But I’m still here doing it. And despite the savage loss of reporters from newsrooms, so are plenty of others who have been around as long as I have. When I think about those who have stuck with journalism, everyone has adapted and adjusted, but fundamentally continue to do their craft with the same sense of vocation and commitment as before. Think about skilled writers and innovators like Bernard Hickey with The  Kaka. Patrick Smellie with Business Desk, Tim Murphy and Mark Jennings with Newsroom, Toby Manhire and Duncan Grieve with The  Spinoff . Think about the absolute masters of the craft, like John Campbell, Donna Chisholm , Paula Penfold, David Fisher, Matt Nippert , Tony Walker, Mike White, Guyon Espiner , and the Brave, brave singular, Nicky Hager. This is not an exhaustive list. There are more, they’re all still doing it. The only reason to stay in this work is because you believe it matters. Every one of those people could have earned far more, avoided a ton of abuse, threats and contempt, and lived an easier life by applying their skill and intellects in other ways.

And further, what I find even more heartening are the Millennials who have come into this industry and are producing outstanding work. I came into an industry that had challenges, but was in some kind of steadyish sort of a state . This next generation has come knowingly into an industry in a state of constant crisis, disruption, and upheaval.

And they have brought with them sharp minds, skill, technological savvy, and an absolutely visceral awareness of the hardship and chaos ahead in a warming world, and the need for systematic change that offers hope to their generation and those after. So I think in the end, most of us who are still here working as journalists do it from an ethic of social justice. And hold to the belief that by reporting stories of human tension, tragedy, resistance, and creativity, by holding power to account, they contribute to a fairer, more cohesive and more informed, and therefore more just and more tolerant community.

I asked one of our bright youngest stars. I know she won’t want to be called young anymore of New Zealand journalism while she’s still at it. Kirsty Johnston was in the middle of working on a huge piece on the failed attempt to get an agricultural emissions pricing scheme up, when she texted me back, she said, and I’m quoting now more than ever: ‘I feel there’s a real need for journalism that shows the public how the world really works. Who holds power? What they do with it. What forces are acting to shape our society? These things aren’t always within plain sight. Power thrives in secrecy and won’t reveal itself without a struggle. That’s why I keep going because I want a society that’s fair for everyone.’  And  then she texted me back a couple of minutes later, and said, did I think that sounded w*nky ? I said, no, I did not think that sounded w*nky at all. Kirsty does this work in the face of trolling and abuse that is now commonplace. I asked her how she would describe the, she’s had for reporting particularly on gender violence. She said very bad and zero support. I also asked Oliver Lewis, who’s another of the young bright stars, like plenty of others, Ollie could have earned tens of thousands more by going into PR , but he said, quote, ‘ferreting out critical information and sharing with the public is hugely important because it challenges government and Ministiries to do better’. Also, we have the opportunity to highlight people, organisations, and companies that are trying to tackle our many wicked societal problems.

So I know if you’re a consumer of the media today, and journalists are consumers of media as much as you are consumers of media. It can feel like you’re in a slurry of endless content. Ollie calls it ‘ churnalism’ , but there are also stories at your fingertips, often still free, every day, that do exactly what I’m describing.

I’ve written this talk mostly in the 24 hours since Kiri Allen’s car crash and resignation. And I would say that with one notable exception that I saw, I would say this was pretty well reported, but like all the big stories these days, it’ s the sheer volume and rolling updates were overwhelming, but yet even in context of that wall-to-wall coverage, I dabbled for literally a few minutes on main news sites  to show that there was also a sway of other stories well researched, written with accuracy and integrity on matters of public importance. Ollie had a piece about efforts to find productivities and efficiencies in State House construction  at Kainga Ora .

Nikki Mandow had a story about profiteering oil and gas multinationals. Cecile Meier had an investigation into the waste industry. David Williams continued an investigation under the impact of a high speed yacht race  on endangered dolphins. Mark Doda and Olivia, Wannan both made sense of the latest policy flip in the emissions trading scheme. Really detailed policy, heavy, important matters of public importance. They weren’t epic ground shifting investigations all of them just really good everyday work that goes on routinely contributing to the flow of ideas, to the depth of democracy, to the environment, to equity. So despite the industry being two decades deep in an ever evolving state of disruption and crisis, despite the slurry of clickbait.  Excellent work by brave and dedicated journalists like these is produced on a daily basis.

I want to talk a bit about the process of journalism, at least as I understand it. Alan Rusbridger, the longtime former editor of The Guardian, wrote a few years ago that there’s no one thing called journalism. No single entity called news. No single recognisable identity for a journalist. That resonated for me. For me, and I think for a lot of others that I know this work is a fairly solitary endeavour. You spend a lot of time on your own with the material trying to figure out how to make it work and what you don’t know. I’m also a generalist, not a subject expert, and most of us in New Zealand and reality are, we don’t have the scale in New Zealand particularly these days to support deep subject experts. What that means is you are always a student, and I personally operate from a constant state of not knowing enough, constantly furiously trying to fill yawning gaps so that I can tell a story  that’s as true and fair as I can make it. Always constantly grappling with massive doubt. Commonly spending weeks or months feeling completely and utterly out pf my depth.

Every story also has its own story as to how it came about, and I’ve spent the last six or eight months down deep on a four part series that’s just been published in the Listener. And so I’m going to relate my comments from now on to that work because it is literally all I thought or dreamed about during that time.

This is to give you an idea about how I go about things generally, including the kind of uncertainty and learning and network building. And one thing leads to another chance that sits behind pretty much every story. So I called this series Hardship and Hope. And the project had an unusual genesis on one hand, but on the other was not unusual in the sense that it started out as one thing and ended up being another.

Unusual in the sense that as a freelancer, I had some research funding from a philanthropist to approach a piece of work that would be about both the systematic tap route of poverty and the changes in actions that we could take collectively to build the opportunity for every child in New Zealand to thrive.

It took me a long time to arrive at that Kaupapa and I was very strongly influenced by the parallel between climate reporting that I’d done over the years and what I was now seeing in the political and public conversation about child poverty. Both are existential crises, both require urgent action. As well as committed long-term strategic direction.

Both are subject to various styles of denialism. In the climate sphere the smart modern denialist doesn’t say that climate change is a hoax anymore. They say, oh, it’s too late we just have to adapt. Which is a get out argument for those who don’t want the trouble of re-engineering energy, food, and transport systems, or the inconvenience of having to reduce the opulence of their lifestyles.

In the child poverty discourse there’s been an important shift. 12 years ago, there was barely any acknowledgement in the political sphere that had existed and virtually no media reporting. But what was worrying me was that although acknowledged and measured now, it’s often bloodless, almost algorithmic. Have 65,000 kids really been lifted out of poverty? Is it BHC or AHC, before housing costs or after housing costs? What was the percentage point change in the number of children in households so poor, they don’t, that they don’t have shoes or food? Incrementalism and of course the denialism – oh, the parents just need to work harder as if someone living in poverty is not, by definition living under a crushing load of work and stress already.

And simplistic statements like it’s all about education. That’s the key thing. Or, the parents should learn to grow a vegetable garden. And of course, the usual racist, judgmental bile that sits just below the surface, across much of our life, our public life in New Zealand. I think we have a broad ignorance in New Zealand about the deep tap roots of poverty. Its multifactorial causes and the profound harms that it inflicts, particularly on children.

It took me a really long time to figure out how I wanted to approach this topic, but I had this unusual benefit of funding that meant I could spend a good amount of time ruminating reading and cogitating on what I could do that could be useful. So the process is not linear. It’s messy. I read a lot research papers, inquiry reports into poverty, the welfare system, cabinet papers, research, research by NGOs who work at the frontline, and books.

I also engaged deeply in a process widely known by journalists. Widely used by journalists, technically known as asking around. So I took a lot of advice , that means I had a lot of chats with people who work in the field, academics, researchers, activists. One key piece of advice I received and took to heart, and it really resonated with the work I’d done on climate change as well, was that there needed to be not just an exposition on the crisis, but there had to be spaces of hope. Had to be evidence that we could be better and that that is available to us. The recording and the writing challenge was then, how, what spaces, who to choose, how to choose, how to connect with people and ask them if I could come and hang out with them and talk to them for a week? And then how to hammer home the deep causal tap roots at the same time as shining a light on the possibility and the hope. While not reducing that hope to a pollyannaish simplistic narrative. I had no idea how I was going to do that. But it just got to the point, and this pretty much always happens, where I just had to dive in.

So I ended up with a plan of four distinct pieces and each had to offer something different because, you know, journalism is designed to be read, not to sit in journals and libraries. It’s designed to be interesting, to be stimulating, to be, that thing, ‘news’. And with each piece, I had to build a contextual understanding of the circumstances of that place in order to bring the hope to life, in the story. I had really absolutely no idea how this was going to go, but I did hold to the basic belief in the process of being a reporter, which is that if you go places and talk to people about what’s happening for them with open ears and with respect. If you gather the background and write it into a narrative that will hold readers until the final full stop, so that they come away hopefully with a new insight. With some information that they didn’t have before, then what you’ve done is probably worthwhile. You wouldn’t know it from the trolling and the slagging that we get as a profession. But this involves not only a massive amount of work, but it also relies on relationships of great trust. When I interview someone, I’m asking them to trust me to convey their words and meaning accurately, to not sit in judgment of, or to approach things with preconceived conclusions. And the paradox that we have, I think , with this apparent issue of falling trust in the media, and we know that trust is a foundational glue in society, and that is being frayed by extremism and polarisation by inequity, inequality, disinformation, and misinformation.

But I find it literally mind blowing how much trust people are prepared to extend to me. And I know to other journalists ’cause I can see that in the work that is produced. We still have this gift of trust in this country. Just a few examples I want to mention from this project, ’cause they were meaningful for me and have moved me really.

Paediatricians at Hawkes Bay Hospital allowed me to be among them in their work. Sitting through their handover meeting,  me to their nurses who allowed me to talk to them about their work while they went about it. Two families allowed me to interview them about illnesses that their children were suffering from, which in both cases were entirely diseases of poverty and bad housing.

Another one was,  I’d arranged to visit a man who’d been involved with Rangatahi Mental Health for 20 years, and who I also understood but didn’t know much about it, was developing Papa Kainga Housing. It turned out that his cousin, who had spent years researching the history of the whenua on which this Papakainga was being built, happened to be there, literally in the weeds at the end of a weed eater.

There had  been no pre-planning here. I was introduced to this man, Malcolm. He sat down on the grass, covered in flecks of  grass, of weeds, an absolute stranger I was to him. And he told me about his ancestors, about the land, about the story of regaining agency over it.

Another example, three women, three wahini, each with a huge amount of trauma and hardship in their lives, sat and talked without artifice, about the hard stuff in their lives in work, poverty, postnatal depression, their interactions with punitive welfare system, grief, trauma, suicide. And I also talked about growth in their community, in their community action, in the innovation that they’re involved with, in the learning that they had done and the skill building that they had done.

And you don’t just turn up and have these interactions, although in the case of that Papakainga story, that’s exactly what happened. The serendipity of that meeting gave me the confidence and drive to really dive into the history of the Native Land Court and to make that story one of the four of the series.

But usually there’s a period of relationship building first. Establishing and articulating what I wanted to do, setting up any protocols to protect privacy when I’m talking to people who are vulnerable. I was asking a lot of people, and they were entitled to know that I was serious and that I had honest intent, that I was operating from a position of respect for the people I was talking to.

And I’m well aware that there are some out there who might say that that just proves that I started out from a position of bias. Just another woke journalist. Well, whatever. I don’t think cynicism is useful. I think cynicism is lazy and dishonest. Scepticism, yes, scepticism is important. Evidence and analysis and data, of course, but over the years I’ve allowed myself to bring more of who I am to this work.

I come with a set of values like anybody else. I come with a sense of who I am as a Pakeha, New Zealander. And I come increasingly with a strong sense of my own ignorance. I find that everything I learn gives me a slightly better idea of what I don’t know. I’m constantly walking a tightrope between the need to learn history and the background, to accurately tell the story and meet deadline, and stick to word length.

On the public eye story, here I was. I’ve got a good honours degree in history. I spent 35 years as a writer. And  I’m grappling at this stage in my life to understand the basics of the Native Land Court , one of the most powerful and important institutions in the story of colonisation and in land alienation. I also try and be aware of what it means for someone to tell somebody like me, a  pakeha from Christchurch with financial security, about a life that has held trauma and hardship. Although even then, I sometimes underestimate it. One of the shortest stories in the series was about a woman in Cannon’s Creek, Ruth, who works with Wesley Community Action and as a leader in in the community. She told me her life story, which included violence, homelessness, poverty and isolation, and how through community action she’d recovered her health and control over her and family’s life.

I went through the story with her on the phone before I filed it, and after it was published I sent it to her. And then I worried when I didn’t hear back from her for several days. Uh oh. Then I did. She told me that it had taken her days to muster the courage to open the story and read it. There’s something confronting about seeing her own life in black and white, but she wrote, I  felt the struggle all over again. Only this time, the changes made and the support from Wesley has given me and my whanau a better outcome. Thank you for getting it right.

I am very aware of my potential to do harm and actually the older I get and the longer I do this work, the heavier that responsibility feels. But I also do know that there is empowerment for many in telling their stories, knowing that in the process they’re speaking for many. That’s  sometimes expressed to me with a level of gratitude that I don’t really feel like I deserve. One person, one of these wahine who I recently interviewed, texted me afterwards and said, thank you for taking the time to listen to us. Well, honestly,  my privilege.

When I was doing the postgraduate diploma of journalism in 1987, there were lots and lots of sessions and discussions around objectivity and independence. I haven’t abandoned that, but I think about it differently now. The thing is that we all have skin in the game. We all live here. We all have a stake in justice and equity, and in a liveable climate and in a healthy democracy. I have adult children and partners. I’m about to become a grandmother next month.

I think that in 1987 when I was doing the postgrad Diploma in Journalism . I came away from that training with the idea that as journalists, we need to be kind of separate to conduct our work behind a hard boundary line. I probably went out into my first job with the idea of some kind of heroic objectivity, probably combined with an equally heroic, possibly silly notion of truth telling. But when it comes to the existential crises that we face, we are all insiders. There is no boundary. And the process of reporting will never unearth something called the definitive truth. Our job is to be truthful, accurate, and fair with the evidence, with the people who have told us their stories. With the complexity of the issues and with the things that we don’t know.

Reporting is always incomplete. There is no end point where you’ve nailed it. It’s just the hope that you’ve added something to a collective process, that you’ve connected some critical dots, some human experience or evidence or insight to readers who might not otherwise have thought about that thing that way.

And you never know if you’ve succeeded in that goal. You never know if you’ve made a difference. The point I want to make is, next time you’re thinking of jumping on your feed to rail about the media or journalism, is that this craft is strong. It is innovative. It needs critiquing. It needs to be accountable. It needs to be honest about its mistakes, but it also needs to be supported. So if and when you feel implied, to have a go, please just try and emulate the way the very best of my peers work every day.

Be accurate.  Be fair. Be  respectful. Because we are all in this together. Thank you.

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