PRESIDENT’S REPORT – AGM – Thursday October 10, 2019
It has been a privilege for me to be your President during this milestone 10th ConSTANZ Conference and a great source of pride to be part of a Committee that has come so far since its inception and humble beginnings in 2001. STANZ (Inc) has grown as a professional organisation that informs and educates its members. I am sure the late Peter Spratt of the Royal Society would be proud of the Association we have become.
I thank the hardworking and dedicated conference team, under the guidance of Jane Lieshout and Lesley Stephens, who have brought ConSTANZ19 to life for us in Wellington.
As was in the beginning, we still have challenges, from pay disparity discussions, to Code of Practice frustrations and working conditions. However, as the years have passed, the voice of STANZ (Inc) has grown considerably stronger enabling us to have active participation in discussions that are relevant to us.
It was very pleasing to have so many people stand for The Executive this year allowing us to hold an election.
It must be said that the Executive was disappointed in the low number of people who voted. The voting process that we used was simple and quick, yet still less than half of the registered members had their say.
Nevertheless, the standard of nominees was exceptional, and we have a new Committee that is strong and focussed. It is especially pleasing to see continuing South Island representation.
As happy as I am to gain new and enthusiastic members to the Executive, it does sadden me to lose the talents of both Ann Brimmer and Sheryl Fitzsimons this year. Both ladies have made invaluable contributions to STANZ (Inc) and their presence will be missed. Ann has been editor extraordinaire of Tech Tonic and in her time as editor has built the newsletter up to an exceptionally high standard. Sheryl farewells us as Past President, having served a term as President from 2015-2017. Prior to her Presidency she served as Treasurer and has been a committee member since 2013. Sheryl has made valuable contributions to the running of STANZ(Inc) and has streamlined many processes. Sheryl has had her finger on the pulse on many governing issues. I thank you both for you years of voluntary service and wish you well in your ‘retirements’.
STANZ has been delighted to have been able to increase the number of scholarships available to its members and we had a record number of applicants this year, especially for the fully funded ‘STANZ Get Me To ConSTANZ’ scholarship. Congratulations to all the worthy recipients.
The process of re-writing the Constitution has been finalised and will be ratified by the members at this AGM. It has been a demanding task but the results will see us better in line with pending government regulations.
Pay equity campaigns discussions are continuing and STANZ will keep you informed of any progress for Science Technicians as it comes to hand.
Regrettably, there is still no final word on the re-write of ‘Safety in Science’. Promised deadlines have come and gone with regrettably no final date set. Our Advocacy and Health and Safety Officer, Arwen Heyworth, has been heavily involved with the re-write and has tried to ensure that our technician needs have been met in the new document. The writers have handed in their sections and the document has been passed on to proof readers and editors. Once it has been proofed, it will be passed onto the Ministry of Education and WorkSafe for approval. All this is likely to take some time and a 2019 release date now looks very unlikely.
We hope the new document will stand up to the task.
Issues with chemical tracking and the lack of reticulated gas in new buildings have also arisen sharply this year. Our Health and Safety Officers, Jane and Arwen, have dealt with many of these and we look to provide clarity to both those issues in the next term.
Finally, as my tenure as President winds up, I would like to thank the Executive for their support, wisdom and encouragement over the last two years. I would also like to thank those of you who have emailed me to say thanks or even just hello. Your words were always very welcomed and definitely appreciated.
I have learnt much and have thoroughly enjoyed my time as President and I look forward to working with the new Executive in the Past President role.
I know the new Executive Committee will continue their high standard of work and commitment to you, the members of STANZ, working with you to improve the conditions, recognition and standing of all School Science Technicians.