Your sadness resonates with me Sue. The bricks and mortar of the wharenui for Resolution Institute in Aotearoa NZ appear to be about to go through a major renovation.
I recall being a member of the then LEADR NZ Board at the time of the re-merger with 'LEADR'. At that time, the commitment to retain the physical office in Wellington as the key wharenui for NZ members was at the forefront of our minds to provide the benefits you refer to Sue for all local members and others like me who visited regularly. Since then, there has been a lot of water under the bridge and here we are approaching the end of 2022 at a crossroads. How the Wellington Community will move on from this crossroad and find ways to continue to gather, grow and support each other is a pathway I will follow with much interest. As always, you have my support. I encourage all Wellington members to engage in an open dialogue on this important issue, identify your interests, put on your creative hats and work together to find ways forward.
Thank you for raising this and I absolutely support your sentiments. What most concerns me is that this has been made as an announcement without real engagement with members.
I was sitting on the LEADR NZ Board when the integration with LEADR Australia occurred. One of the core commitments that the then Chair of LEADR Australia, Margaret Halsmith, made to the then LEADR NZ Chair, Mark Beech, was a commitment to maintaining a NZ Office.
Clearly the world changes and what we have all experienced through COVID restrictions has accelerated the pace of change and caused significant pain both individually and for organisations like Resolution Institute. My concern is that this announcement marks a significant change for New Zealand members and one that we might only truly appreciate once we have lost it.
Like you Sue, the presence of the NZ office in Wellington has provided me a professional community hub over more than 20 years. I am no longer in Wellington and at a different stage of my career, but I think the loss of this centre leaves me with great sadness and concerns about the future of Resolution Institute in New Zealand. A corporate office in Sydney provides little value for New Zealand members and personally leaves me wondering whether I might be better off joining a New Zealand based professional body that can provide me with access to professional indemnity insurance and can represent my professional interests with Government in New Zealand.
Having served as a Board Member of LEADR NZ, and subsequently of Resolution Institute, I fully appreciate that tough decisions have to be made around finances. What concerns me is that we have received a message as a 'done deal' rather been consulted about what this means for members. I know that membership Board's tend to characterise themselves as businesses and I think this loses sight of the fact that what we are, in fact, a membership organisation: a collective. I have to wonder if this decision is one that is convenient to the organisation and its current staff rather than engaging the New Zealand membership around what their needs are for the future?
'Place' holds a significance in New Zealand culture that may be different to Australia. There is also the Wellington-centric nature of our Government where there is importance in having a Wellington presence to engage and influence Government. There are many potential ways to achieve this beyond a binary decision of a Wellington premises, or not (e.g. shared meeting spaces). What seems to be missing at present is a commitment to practising the values on which our organisation is founded: engaging with the interested parties. I hope that such engagement will occur before this decision is ratified.
Thank you for your input and engagement, we do appreciate it. Firstly, I wish to inform you that we do not have plans to close the NZ office. Yes, we have challenges that we have to address, but no plans have been presented to the Board or decisions made. When, and if this is for consideration, we would seek submissions from members in NZ and would actively invite you to submit ideas, as Jon, so eloquently wrote, we are a collective.
As per Trevor's pulse article, the employment market is a challenging one right now, and flexible working arrangements is something that is a key driver for prospective employees. We have been able to extend our market by going beyond Wellington and finding staff who work in various parts of NZ for the time being. Whilst we have promised our staff flexibility, we will not compromise on the service and the engagement with our members all across NZ.
With regard to the office itself, we currently have a lease until January 2024. Trevor and I have had discussions about our various options, (as I'm sure you can appreciate), however a scoping paper has yet to be developed and options about choices has yet to be developed and this is yet to go to the board. I will be in NZ in February and I look forward to talking to members about the needs of the DR Community there, and how Resolution Institute can continue to support you. I would encourage you to join me at the events being held to share your views with me personally. You can also email or message Trevor and I anytime. Your comments above are extremely helpful, so thank you.
Regardless of what happens with the office itself, I want to reiterate that Trevor's key role is to engage with stakeholders and members in the DR community, and this requires him to be in Wellington, Auckland, Christchurch and so on, which he will continue to do.
On a separate note, one of the big pieces of work that we will undertake in the coming months is the RJ tender for MoJ. We expect that the tender will be released in the new year and we will need to engage with our trainers, the Ministry and other stakeholders to formulate Resolution Institutes response.
Many thanks again
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