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Scientist elected as PSA president

September 25, 2008
For Immediate Use
Scientist elected as PSA president

Christchurch-based scientist Paula Scholes has been elected president of the Public Service Association.

The PSA is New Zealand’s largest union with 56,000 members working across the state sector from government departments such as DOC, to crown owned companies such TVNZ. They also work in public hospitals, for state funded health providers and in local government.

“I’m proud to be a public servant,” says Paula Scholes, who was yesterday elected PSA president at the union’s National Congress.

“I’m proud to be part of a public service that provides services and infrastructure that all New Zealanders use and rely on.”

“Public service workers live and work in towns and cities throughout New Zealand and work hard every day to serve their fellow New Zealanders.”

“I’m honoured to have been elected president of the PSA which provides a voice for public service workers and is committed to building strong public services for the benefit of the whole country,” says Paula Scholes.

Paula works as a laboratory manager for Environmental Science and Research Ltd. ESR is one of the country’s nine crown research institutes (CRIs). ESR provides services in public and environmental health and forensic science. Paula’s Christchurch laboratory is part of the ESR’s water management group. It works to ensure that New Zealanders have safe water for drinking and recreation and that our wastewater is also kept safe.

“My laboratory runs the molecular biology part of the ESR’s water safety programme,” says Paula Scholes.

“We work with the Ministry of Health, the Food Safety Authority and regional councils to ensure that New Zealanders have safe water to drink, to swim and boat in, and that we dispose of our wastewater safely.”

Paula began her career in the public service in 1980 at the DSIR (Department of Scientific and Industrial Research) as a trainee technician. She moved to the ESR when the DSIR was disestablished in 1992 with the creation of the crown research institutes.

“It’s worthwhile work knowing that you are helping keep people from catching serious diseases such as salmonella and campylobacter and that they can safely swim in their local rivers and lakes,” says Paula Scholes.

She joined the PSA when she began her career in 1980. She became a worksite delegate then a national delegate representing all ESR workers who belonged to the PSA throughout the country. Ten years ago she was elected the ESR representative on the PSA National Science Committee which has a PSA member from each of the nine CRIs. She then became a member of PSA’s Environmental Sector Committee which includes members working at DOC, Ministry of Fisheries, Ministry for the Environment, Ministry of Agriculture and Forests and the crown research institutes.

Paula was elected vice president of the PSA two years ago and yesterday was elected president of the union.

“New Zealand has world class public services that New Zealanders value,” says Paula Scholes. “I and every member of the PSA are committed to ensuring we continue to have strong public services that meet that needs of all New Zealanders.”


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