National 14 July 2017
Dear Member,

Welcome to the 7th issue for 2017 of ASMS Direct, our national electronic publication.

You can also keep in touch with the latest news and views on health issues relevant to public hospital specialists via our website, which contains links (at the top of the home page) to our Facebook and LinkedIn pages, as well as our quarterly magazine The Specialist. We’re also on Twitter at

2017 DHB MECA ballot – your opportunity to vote

Following a period of extensive negotiations with the country’s district health boards, your ASMS National Executive has reached a point where it can recommend settlement of the DHB MECA and as a result is now conducting an indicative ballot of all members employed by DHBs. This is a very important opportunity to vote and I urge all DHB members to take part, whatever your views on this proposal.

The ballot opened on 12 July and it will close on Friday 11 August. You should receive a ballot form from either electronically or by mail (if we have no email address for you). If you don’t receive a voting pack, however, please contact Yvonne Desmond at the ASMS national office on 04 499 1271 or by emailing and we will get one to you.

To assist you with voting, background documents are available on the ASMS website at These include:

The Executive will consider the results of the membership ballot before finally deciding whether or not to ratify the proposed new MECA. Implementation of the MECA (if it has been ratified by members) will be discussed in more detail at the annual ASMS Branch Officers workshop on 14 August in Wellington.

ASMS has reported regularly on the progress of the MECA negotiations; previous issues of our Bargaining Bulletins are available at If you have any further questions about the negotiations or the proposed MECA, please contact the ASMS national office on 04 499 1271.

ASMS Annual Conference – a reminder for your diaries

Please make sure you have the ASMS Annual Conference in your calendar.  The Conference will be held in Wellington on 23-24 November (Thursday and Friday), and will discuss a range of significant health policy and industrial issues.

As is normally the case, we expect the Minister of Health will also address the Conference and be available afterwards for questions.

Other speakers include:

  • Dr Victoria Atkinson, Chief Medical Officer and cardio-thoracic surgeon, St Vincent’s Hospital (Melbourne) on changing culture to address negative behaviours and improve safety
  • Simon Kayll, Chief Executive Medical Protection Society (UK)
  • Dr Erik Monasterio, forensic psychiatrist (Canterbury) on a personal experience of stress
  • Hon Annette King, former Health Minister and retiring MP on her reflections on the health system
  • Martin Stokes, Chief Executive, Medical Assurance Society, on MAS, ethical investment and supporting ‘good causes’.

Please contact ASMS Membership Support Officer Kathy Eaden at if you are interested in attending.

Did you know…about the bargaining fee?

The bargaining fee (clause 31) has been in place since the 2007-2010 MECA and is designed to ensure that all employees who gain the benefits of the MECA contribute their fair share to the costs of the negotiations – no ‘freeloading’. It is important to note that the bargaining fee itself only applies to non-members and is not in any way additional to your membership fee.

We are encouraging all ASMS members to vote for the bargaining fee in the eventual bargaining fee ballot, which will take place if the MECA is ratified (all senior doctors and dentists potentially covered by the MECA can vote).

If you know anyone who is not an ASMS member, you should encourage them to become one so that they can enjoy all the benefits of being a member (for example, assistance and guidance from our team of industrial officers), rather than paying a bargaining fee.


Kind regards

Ian Powell
Executive Director