MERAS Annual General Meeting 2020
We held the MERAS AGM on Tuesday, 11 August. It was our biggest ever attendance by members, thanks to Zoom. At the AGM, we had reports from Michelle Archer as the Acting Chair and from Caroline Conroy and Jill Ovens as Co-leaders. We also voted on changes to the MERAS Constitution, including provision for a biennial Conference of workplace reps, and student membership. The updated version of the constitution can be found here.
Who is MERAS?
- Established by the NZ College of Midwives (NZCOM) in 2002 as a separate but associated organisation to give voice for employed midwives.
- All members of MERAS are also members of the College of Midwives, the professional organisation for midwives.
- In just a few years MERAS has grown to represent by far the majority of employed midwives.
- MERAS members elect their workplace representatives, who are in turn represented by members of the National Representatives Council (NRC) from each region.
- MERAS has two co-leaders who provide advice and support for the NRC, workplace reps and members, bargain Collective Agreements, and maintain relationships with NZCOM, employers, other unions, and external bodies.
What does MERAS do?
- Bargains Collective Agreements for midwives
- Provides support and advocacy for individuals or groups of midwives to address workplace issues
- Provides feedback on consultation documents
- Supports workplace reps and members at formal meetings
- Lobbies politicians and officials
- Campaigns for recognition of midwifery
- To develop, negotiate and promote a Multi-Employer Collective Employment Agreement (MECA) for DHB-employed midwives and Collective Employment Agreements (CEA) for other employed midwife workplaces
- To protect and enhance the workplace, economic and industrial interests of MERAS members
- To stimulate and encourage MERAS membership
- To advocate on behalf of members at a ward, unit, DHB and national level
- To develop strategies and principles that underpin the decision making of MERAS and support members
Who is on the NRC?
- Michelle Archer, NRC Chair
- Bronwyn King, Deputy Chair
- Victoria Christian, Finance Committee member
- Jaimee Bamford – representing Canterbury, South Canterbury, West Coast and Nelson-Marlborough DHB catchment areas.
- Theresa Enright representing the Lakes, Tairawhiti and Bay of Plenty DHB catchment areas
- Joyce Croft – representing the Northland DHB catchment area.
- Holly Mudford – representing MidCentral, Hawkes Bay and Taranaki DHBs catchment areas.
- Verity O’Connor – representing Capital and Coast, Hutt and Wairarapa.
- Jo Simpson – representing the Waikato
- Jennifer Fletcher, Māori midwife representative
- Alison Eddy, the New Zealand College of Midwives (‘the College’) Chief Executive Officer
- Claire MacDonald, who has been appointed by the College
- MERAS Co-Leaders Caroline Conroy and Jill Ovens
- There is currently a vacancy on the NRC for a Waitemata rep.
At our recent AGM we farewelled Karen Ferraccioli, our previous NRC Chair, who has stepped down to take up a position as Hutt DHB Director of Midwifery where she has already made a positive impression with her energy and commitment. She is also making a significant contribution to the Midwifery Leaders Group.
We also farewelled Karen Gray from the NRC. Karen has stepped down to take up her role as MERAS organiser, based in Christchurch. She has already made a difference at Christchurch Women’s Hospital where MERAS membership now exceeds 100.
Our NRC leaders
Jill Ovens (MERAS industrial co-leader), Victoria Christian (member of the finance committee), Caroline Conroy (MERAS midwifery co-leader), former NRC chairs Kelly McConville and Karen Ferraccioli, and Michelle Archer (NRC chair).
What is the NRC’s role?
- Sets the policy and strategic direction for the membership
- Provides a forum for members to influence the direction of MERAS
- Currently overseeing a process to develop agreed values to underpin MERAS strategy