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NZ performers union votes to merge with Oz union

Media Release: NZ Actors Equity
Monday March 6 2005

New Zealand performers union votes to merge with Australian union

Union members in the performance industries have voted to disestablish NZ Actors Equity and merge with their Australian counterpart, the Media, Entertainment & Arts Alliance.

Teresa Brown, union organiser with NZ Actors Equity was pleased with today’s outcome.

“This is the end of a very long and lengthy consultation process,” said Teresa Brown, union organiser with the National Distribution Union/NZ Actors Equity. “It now means we can spend our time and energy on the real issue of improving the working lives of actors and building strong local creative industries.”

“Once we meet with Australians representatives, we will have more detail about timeframes and processes regarding the branch of they will be setting up in NZ,” said Teresa Brown.

“While we watch the international industry celebrate its achievements at the Oscars today, we can recognize this milestone vote here in New Zealand – for NZ actors wanting to have a strong voice in the industry they are so passionate about,” said Teresa Brown.

The vote follows a poll conducted of both union and non union performers late last year where 82% voted to open a branch office of the Alliance in New Zealand.

Note for journalists:

Actors Equity (the New Zealand union for performers) is currently part of the National Distribution Union.

The Media, Entertainment & Arts Alliance is the union and professional organisation which covers workers in the media, entertainment, sports and arts industries in Australia. The Alliance will establish a New Zealand Branch with a President and an Executive elected by and from New Zealand members. The President would represent New Zealand performers on the Alliance Executive. The Alliance will establish an office in New Zealand and engage a full-time organiser. NZ members of the Alliance will be entitled to all rights and responsibilities as any other member, including the ability to participate in the development of policies that affect them and their work.

ENDS

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