New Workplace Barometer measures mental health of employees

Source: Massey University


Work stress comes from technology problems, workload pressures resulting from poor planning, unnecessary deadlines and a lack of leadership, Massey researchers say.


A wide survey of New Zealand workplaces by researchers from Massey University’s Healthy Work Group has found more than one-quarter of employees feel depressed much of the time and half of workers say their lives are impacted to some extent by depression.

Called the New Zealand Workplace Barometer, the study surveyed more than 1400 participants about the prevalence, nature and impacts of psycho-social risks in their workplaces. Researcher Associate Professor Bevan Catley says the findings will form baseline data for ongoing monitoring. The study already has funding in place for the next three years.

“It’s important we acknowledge the prevalence of mental health issues, including depression, in New Zealand workplaces,” Dr Catley says. “Over half our respondents reported signs of depression that made it difficult to do their job, take care of things at home or get along with other people.

“Worryingly, just over 7 per cent said these problems made their lives ‘very’ or ‘extremely’ difficult. While there is a huge personal toll, the costs to organisations can also be considerable.”

Respondents in the highest quartile for psychological distress reported a lost time rate of 3.5 times greater than those in the lowest quartile.

“Lost time is an obvious direct cost to organisations,” Dr Catley says, “but there’s also many many indirect costs that are harder to calculate, including retention issues and the cost of recruitment and low engagement leading to low productivity.”

Associate Professor Bevan Catley.


Workplace culture is a predictor of stress and wellbeing

The Workplace Barometer analysed the psycho-social safety climate of participating organisations. This measure of how well an organisation manages the psychological wellbeing of its employees proved to be a good predictor of stress-related illness amongst staff.

“This report shows we are able to predict mental health outcomes from organisational factors, including management attitude to psycho-social wellbeing,” Dr Catley says. “This means there is an important workplace component to improving employee mental health, and organisational changes can have a positive impact on many people.”

Stress comes from technology problems, workload pressures resulting from poor planning, unnecessary deadlines and a lack of leadership, Dr Catley says. Meanwhile, policies and procedures that create an environment of inclusion and give employees an appropriate amount of autonomy can have positive effects on wellbeing.

“Fundamentally, top management has to actually buy into the importance of improving the psycho-social safety climate of their organisations. Staff need to be able to make recommendations for changes to reduce work-related stress, and those recommendations need to be taken seriously.”

Other Workplace Barometer findings:

  • The prevalence of workplace bullying remains high, with more than 12 per cent of respondents targeted with at least two negative behaviours weekly over the past six months.
  • Nearly one-quarter of respondents had witnessed the bullying of others.
  • 37 per cent of those who had experienced bullying reported that it had continued for more than a year.
  • The prevalence of sexual harassment was relatively low at approximately 3 per cent, although higher rates were experienced by women, at 4 per cent.
  • Sleep disturbance was the most prevalent symptom of depression, at 64 per cent.
  • Working remotely at least one day per week resuts in better wellbeing outcomes.

Download the full Workplace Barometer report.

For more information about participating in the next round of research, visit the Workplace Barometer information page.

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Sanford’s Māui plan ineffective

Source: Greenpeace New Zealand

Greenpeace has labelled an overnight announcement by fishing company Sanford as a danger to Māui and Hector’s dolphins, and is calling on the Government to reject the ‘Sanford Plan’ immediately.

Greenpeace oceans campaigner, Jessica Desmond, says the plan relies on complicated and unproven methods for preventing dolphin deaths, and is at odds with a precautionary approach that’s essential for the protection of the critically endangered dolphins.

“We’re living through the world’s sixth mass extinction. Māui and Hector’s are right there at the top of the threatened lists,” she says.

“To give them any chance of survival as a species, action to protect them must take a precautionary approach, and it must be decisive and comprehensive. The proposal put forward today by Sanfords is none of these.

“When you are down to the last 60 individuals of a species, you need to act on the basis of the precautionary principle and use protective measures that have been proven to work.”

Desmond says there are a wide range of measures that must be adopted if there is any chance of saving the dolphins.

This includes a ban on net fishing and only allowing dolphin-safe fishing methods in the full Māui and Hector’s habitat range; the immediate implementation of electronic VMS on all commercial vessels and cameras on boats; an extension of the Marine Mammal Sanctuaries out to the 100 metre depth contour to prohibit any seabed mining, seismic surveys and oil and gas exploration and drilling there; and the development of a plan to support the transition of affected fishers.

Yesterday, along with World Animal Protection, Greenpeace presented a 55,000 strong petition and over 5,000 submissions to Conservation Minister Eugenie Sage supporting a ban on set net fishing, seabed mining and oil drilling, and a stop to seismic testing.

ENDS

The full Greenpeace response to the Hector’s and Māui dolphin threat management plan is here. 

Update – missing person, Petone

Source: New Zealand Police

Update – missing person, Petone

Tuesday, 20 August 2019 – 10:25pm

Wellington

The 73-year-old woman reported missing from Petone about 4pm today has been found safe and well. 

Police thank the public for their assistance in this matter.

ENDS 

Issued by Police Media Centre 

Have you seen Jennifer McIlroy?

Source: New Zealand Police

Police are asking for the public’s help finding Jennifer McIlroy, who has been reported missing from her Petone residence.

Jennifer is 73, and is about 158cm tall with long grey hair.

She was last seen about 4pm today, wearing a plum-coloured winter coat.

Jennifer can be easily confused, and her family and Police are concerned for her welfare.

Anyone who sees her is urged to call 111 immediately.

ENDS 

Issued by Police Media Centre 

Threat Management Plan consultation closes

Source: Department of Conservation

Introduction

DOC and Fisheries New Zealand would like to thank everyone who took part in the consultation on the Hector’s and Māui dolphins Threat Management Plan review.

Date:  20 August 2019

The consultation was launched on the 17 June and closed yesterday (19 August 2019). Public meetings were held to discuss the plan from Dargaville in the North to Invercargill in the South.  We received more than 13,000 submissions by web, email and post. Additionally, a petition of around 76,000 signatures was handed into Parliament.

Hector’s and Māui dolphins are among the world’s rarest dolphins. They face a range of human-induced threats, including fishing, seismic surveying and the disease toxoplasmosis.

Options within the consultation included:  increasing the boundaries of marine mammal sanctuaries, extending restrictions on trawling and set netting in areas where the dolphins live, further restrictions on seismic surveying and seabed mining in areas and developing an action plan to deal with toxoplasmosis.

“New Zealanders care deeply about finding solutions to this issue, and that’s been reflected in the many submissions we’ve received from all perspectives throughout the consultation,” says Fisheries New Zealand, Director of Fisheries Management, Stuart Anderson.

“Fisheries New Zealand and the Department of Conservation will now carefully examine all the feedback we have received and incorporate that into advice for Ministers on finalising the Threat Management Plan and the measures that will support it.”

DOC’s Manager of Marine Species and Threats, Ian Angus added, “We would particularly like to thank the communities who we met with during the consultation process.”

Go to Fisheries New Zealand or the Department of Conservation websites for more information about the proposals.

Contact

For media enquiries contact:

Phone: +64 4 496 1911
Email: media@doc.govt.nz

Japan: Rugby World Cup 2019

Source: New Zealand Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade – Safe Travel

Japan: Rugby World Cup 2019

New Zealanders planning on attending this year’s Rugby World Cup in Japan, beginning on 20 September 2019, should read this information in conjunction with the travel advisory for Japan

Before you go
All New Zealanders planning on attending the Rugby World Cup are encouraged to:

  • Ensure they have a comprehensive travel insurance policy in place that provides cover for any pre-existing conditions and any activities they wish to undertake that may be excluded from regular policies.
  • Register their details with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade so we can contact you and account for your well-being in an emergency.

When you get there
Proper manners are valued highly in Japan, and New Zealanders are encouraged to familiarise themselves with basic rules and etiquette.

Most Japanese people are very friendly and welcoming but can be reserved. Loud, boisterous behaviour is not as acceptable in Japan as it is in New Zealand.

Smoking should be done at designated smoking areas. Public spaces, restaurants, offices, and so on are subject to tighter anti-smoking laws and are often non-smoking altogether. Ashtrays are installed only at designated smoking areas. In some areas of Japan, cigarette butt littering incurs a fine.

Be aware that stricter laws may apply in Japan. Penalties for possession, use or trafficking of illegal drugs are severe and can include lengthy imprisonment. Anybody can be arrested, and held for up to 23 days before being charged with a crime.

Safety and security
There is some risk to your security in Japan due to the threat from terrorism. New Zealanders are advised to monitor the local media for information about threats to safety and security and follow any instructions issued by the local authorities. See our Japan advisory for further information.

Foreigners in Japan are required to carry their passport or residence card at all times.

Be aware of pick-pockets and never leave your bag or belongings unattended while in public places or on public transport.

As a precaution against drink spiking, never leave your drink unattended in a bar or nightclub, or accept drinks from strangers or new acquaintances.

Medical treatment
Medical assistance in a foreign country can be extremely expensive and you are expected to pay any medical costs yourself.

The Japanese National Tourism Organisation has a website to assist with understanding how to seek medical treatment in Japan.

Bringing medication into Japan:
https://www.mhlw.go.jp/english/policy/health-medical/pharmaceuticals/01.html

Where to get help
In an emergency call 119 for fire or ambulance, or 110 for police.

Consular assistance
New Zealanders requiring consular assistance in Japan should contact the New Zealand Embassy, Tokyo

Street Address: 20-40 Kamiyama-cho, Shibuya-ku, Tokyo 150 – 0047, Japan

Telephone: +81 3 3467 2271

Email: tky@mfat.govt.nz

Website: https://www.mfat.govt.nz/japan

For information on attending the Rugby World Cup, visit the New Zealand Official Rugby World Cup website. 

For further information on the Rugby World Cup itself, visit the Official Website of the IRB Rugby World Cup 2019.

Associated Advisories:

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Primary and intermediate principals vote to accept new Ministry offer

Source: New Zealand Education Institute (NZEI)

20 August 2019

Primary and intermediate school principals have voted to accept a new settlement from the Ministry of Education, which includes entrenched pay parity with secondary principals.

The settlement will ensure primary, intermediate and secondary principals of similar-sized schools will receive the same base salary, across key components of remuneration.

NZEI Te Riu Roa President Lynda Stuart said it had been a long and gruelling campaign, and she was proud of the way members had stayed united and held out for a fair offer, despite the personal cost.

It was the sixth offer to principals since collective agreement negotiations began on 16 April 2018. During that time, principals held three strike days alongside primary teachers, including one on 29 May this year that included secondary and area school teachers.

Following the 29 May strike, primary and area school teachers accepted new offers that gave them parity with their secondary colleagues, but primary and intermediate principals voted to fight on. They took partial strike action from 8 July until 16 August, in which they disengaged from Ministry meetings and communication.

Ms Stuart said pay parity with secondary principals was simply a matter of fairness, and it was crucial to get an agreement that would make it worthwhile for senior teachers to consider moving into a principal role.

“This settlement of course doesn’t address all of the issues we face as principals, and work will now begin in earnest with the Ministry and PPTA Wehengarua to make progress on the accord that forms part of the terms of settlement,” she said.

The accord will focus on appraisal, teacher only days, wellbeing, workload and the complexity of the principal role. Read the accord here.

Ms Stuart said she especially wanted to thank school whānau and the wider public who backed teachers and principals through this campaign.

“They understood the workload issues educators face, the difficulties around recruitment and retention, and the impact that has on students. They supported us all the way and it made a real difference to the outcome,” said Ms Stuart.

Negotiations underway for other education sector groups

Negotiations for a collective agreement for area school principals are in the early stages.

Collective agreement negotiations for school support staff have also just begun, alongside pay equity processes for different groups, with teacher aides being most advanced.

NZEI Te Riu Roa has now completed the assessment of the role of teacher aides and the four comparator groups. Work is now underway to set the parameters for pay equity negotiations with government.

Two weeks of paid union meetings started yesterday for teachers covered by the Early Childhood Education Collective Agreement. Members are discussing issues in the sector and developing claims to take to negotiations with early childhood education providers.

The key components of the offer that primary and intermediate principals accepted are:

  • Pay parity with secondary principals across the roll, staffing and decile components of remuneration, with this being entrenched through a unified pay system.

  • Principals of the smallest U1 grade schools (up to 50 students) rolled into the U2 grade on the pay scale

  • Additional funding to ensure at least two adults in every school during the school day

  • Beyond an initial increase to achieve parity, there is a 3% per annum pay increase for three years on the roll and staffing components of remuneration

  • A one-off $1,500 (before tax) payment to NZEI Te Riu Roa members

  • An annual $300,000 professional development fund for primary principals

  • A three-year term for the agreement

You can read the full terms of the settlement HERE.

Police acknowledge sentencing of Shaun Keenan

Source: New Zealand Police

Please attribute to Detective Inspector Brent Matuku, Central District Police:

Police acknowledge the sentencing today of Shaun Keenan in New Plymouth District Court.

Keenan has been sentenced to three years and eight months’ imprisonment for multiple counts relating to theft, forgery, and obtaining by deception.

He was also ordered to pay $75,000 in reparation.

Keenan’s offending took place during his time as CEO of the Ngāti Te Whiti Whenua Topu Trust.

He was a respected leader held in high regard, who used his standing in the community and his position as a former Police officer to gain the trust of others.

He abused this position to siphon off funds he was entrusted to look after, and which Ngāti Te Whiti had hoped would contribute to the construction of a marae.

Keenan’s greed led to offending which has devastated the Ngāti Te Whiti community.

His victims have spoken of the anguish and sense of loss they feel, not only for themselves but for their whanau and future generations who have been deprived of the long-standing aspiration to build a marae.

When alerted to this offending Police undertook a comprehensive investigation into what was established to be large-scale offending.

I would like to share my thanks to those affected by Keenan’s offending who spoke with Police and assisted with the investigation.

Their support of this prosecution, alongside the work of the investigation team, enabled Police to secure Keenan’s conviction.

ENDS

Issued by Police Media Centre

Minister to co-host Women, Peace and Security Summit in Apia

Source: New Zealand Government

Hon Carmel Sepuloni will travel to Apia tomorrow to represent New Zealand at the Women, Peace and Security Summit, in Samoa from 22-23 August.

She will be co-hosting the Summit alongside Samoan Prime Minister Hon Dr Tuilaepa Sailele Malielegaoi.

The Summit is a partnership between Samoa’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade and New Zealand’s Ministry of Defence.

The Minister will deliver a keynote address to participants from across the Pacific region about New Zealand’s perspectives on the Women, Peace and Security agenda, enshrined in United Nations Security Council Resolution 1325.

“The Summit will promote the participation of women at all levels of peace and security governance in the Pacific and the rights of women and girls, particularly in conflict and post conflict situations,” Carmel Sepuloni said.

The Summit will also encourage relevant action under the Boe Declaration on Regional Security, endorsed by Pacific Islands Forum Leaders in 2018.

Minister Sepuloni will also have bilateral meetings with her Samoan counterparts and will represent New Zealand in an unveiling ceremony for the Vaimoso Influenza Memorial, which marks the impact of the global influenza pandemic, carried to Samoa on board a ship that departed from Auckland in 1918.

ENDS.

Tell them to get to work, Minister

Source: National Party

Grant Robertson’s comments have confirmed the Labour-led Government’s true approach to social welfare, National’s Social Development spokesperson Louise Upston says.

“Mr Robertson yesterday said that ‘people who want to work should be able to’. Carmel Sepuloni then indicated in Parliament that she agreed with him. This just underlines Labour’s attitude that being on benefit can be a lifestyle choice.

“National believes those who can work, should work.

“The numbers show the Government’s going soft on social welfare. Since the Labour-led Government came into office, there are 15,500 more people on a jobseeker benefit and 3,300 fewer sanctions being imposed. The clue is in the name: jobseekers are supposed to be seeking jobs.

“Labour can’t claim to be the party of the workers if it’s supporting people who simply don’t want to work and expect to rely on the generosity of the taxpayer.

“Working is the best route out of poverty, and gives people the opportunity to live better lives.

“At the end of the day, benefits are funded by taxpayers’ money for the purpose of helping people who need it to get back on their feet. The funds should be targeted towards those who do need them, rather than those who can work, but won’t.”