From teachers to nurses: New chief executive Paul Goulter starts at NZNO

February 28, 2022

Nurses and teachers could be working more closely together as the incoming NZNO chief executive Paul Goulter is welcomed to NZNO.

Goulter has begun his new role – launched with a pōwhiri in Wellington – by aiming to boost the relationship between the nursing union and primary teachers’ union, NZEI Te Riu Roa.

NZNO announced in November that Goulter, then-NZEI national secretary, was appointed to the long-vacant chief executive role.

Paul Goulter
Paul Goulter

On Monday he said the pōwhiri, with members of the respective unions on each side, was the first time NZEI and NZNO had met. “And it can’t be the last time. These two unions are the cornerstone of the New Zealand trade union movement, and if we’re good enough for ourselves, then think how better we can be by working together.”

Goulter said he was sure the unions would be working together “to keep this kōrero going”.

His union experience included stints as general secretary of finance sector union Finsec (Now FIRST union), secretary of the New Zealand Council of Trade Unions and a director at the Australian Council of Trade Unions.

Until recently he served on the board of the Co-operative Bank and is currently on the board of Air New Zealand.

“These two unions are the cornerstone of the New Zealand trade union movement…”

At the pōwhiri, NZNO kaumatua Keelan Ransfield welcomed Goulter, saying “ānei āu kaimahi, ānei ngā kaiwhakahaere” – these are your staff, and management – including the likes of Mairi Lucas who was acting chief executive before his arrival, Ransfield said.

Professional and nursing services manager Lucas was appointed acting chief executive after Memo Musa resigned in December 2020. She returns to her previous role.

Goulter steps into the role in challenging times as nurses face the Omicron surge, staffing shortages and a lack of pay parity between district health board members and nurses working in other sectors.