Wednesday, 3 December 2008

Working hard in Wellington

Its been a busy few days since I last updated the blog - I've been too been too busy doing to be writing. I got to meet Frank the eel on Sunday evening - though I left it to Michael to make the physical contact and give out supper - Frank's huge and he's not alone in that stream! I saw at least 6 others of at least 18 inches long.

My visit to the Wairapa finshed early on Monday morning when Michael drove us back into the city for the day's activities. For me that was introductions to more of his colleagues, the chance to spend a little more time with Tina, who is the manager and who I had met at the Conference last week.

Michael then interviewed me for an Access Radio programme called Collaborative Radio - I was given a copy of the interview which will be broadcast in January.

Michael and I had lunch in Ernesto's which is in the Cuba district of the town - but you may have realised that! I had a cheese scone - fantastic things! I have had the best cheese scones ever since I arrived in New Zealand! Still haven't found out what New Zealand cuisine is but their scones are brilliant.

After spending some time working through dozens of emails I made my way to the PSA - Public Services Association and UNISON's sister organisation in NZ. I was met by someone very familiar to many in UNISON - a former member of the NEC. Graham Cuffley is now working as a PSA organiser in Wellington. He asked to be remembered to everyone and I have one or two personal messages to deliver when I return.

I made a presentation on equal pay in Scotland to an audience of trade unionists and government reps from the Pay and Employment Equity Unit. There were a few dropped jaws when I'd finished and understandably most of the questions were of the kind that would help them with how not to end up where we are!

It was a good session, lots of positive feedback and thoughtful questions. Also very positive in that I even managed to make Peter's 'Bainbridge' diagram clear and understandable!!

Dinner at a Turkish restaurant followed, Conor came to join us and I had a really great evening in the company of a smashing bunch of bright, smart women absolutely committed to achieving pay parity - and to ensuring that I continue to have a fabulous time in New Zealand. I have so many suggestions for what to do and see when I'm in the south Island. I'll have some tough choices to make.

I spent Monday night in a hotel with a double bed and all the things that I'd usually take for granted in a hotel - it felt pretty tame!

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