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All Workers Have The Right To Protest

Every worker - including all public servants - have the right to attend protest marches and be politically active, says Kerry Davies National Secretary of the Public Service Association Te Pūkenga Here Tikanga Mahi.

"There is no conflict with political neutrality obligations on public sector workers and their ability to exercise fundamental rights and freedoms like attending protest action. The New Zealand Bill of Rights Act 1990 applies to public servants in the same way it applies to everyone else," Davies said.

"It is not surprising that many groups are looking to protest the actions of this Government given their reckless approach to making cuts in the public services we all rely on and their disregard for Te Titiri o Waitangi.

"There is a proud history in New Zealand of protest and resistance and it is lawful and no directive from Government can take away these fundamental rights," Davies said.

PSA advice on Budget day protests

The PSA has prepared guidance for its members to ensure they are acting lawfully ahead of the protest action planned in response to the Government budget:

Public servants, like all other New Zealanders, are free to participate in protest action in your own time, as individuals.

You can take annual leave to attend for the whole day if this is agreed in the usual manner.

If you do attend protests, it’s important you avoid making public comments that could be perceived as attempting to speak on behalf of your employer or share information you only have as a result of your role.

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If you are in doubt about your ability to go or have other concerns, raise them with your direct manager in the first instance and if you are unhappy with their response, you can call the PSA 0508 367 772 for further advice.

Other protests

The rally tomorrow against the Budget will be one of many in the upcoming months opposing this Government’s divisive agenda, Davies said.

On Saturday 8 June the PSA is supporting a People Before Profits rally in Wellington, which will bring together community groups and union members to oppose cuts and advocate for an equitable future where everyone has what they need to thrive.

The rally, being organised by community campaign organisers ActionStation, will begin at Pukeahu War Memorial Park, at 1pm and march to the waterfront.

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