Value of H&S Reps

Value of H&S Reps

Former Minister for Workplace Relations and Safety Michael Wood, former CEO of WorkSafe New Zealand Phil Parkes, and Erin Polaczuk, National Secretary Public Service Association share key messages for agencies and health and safety representatives.






Michael was the Member of Parliament (MP) for Mt Roskill, former Minister for Workplace Relations and Safety, and former Minister of Transport. 

Michael wass MP for New Zealand’s most diverse electorate and was closely connected to New Zealand’s vibrant and growing ethnic communities and was focused on ensuring that every person regardless of background has the ability to flourish and reach their fullest potential in our country.

Michael is driven by the core belief that people do well when living in strong, fair, and supportive communities. He believes that an economy and public institutions that are focussed on people’s wellbeing will lead to a society that is both more prosperous and just.






Phil is the former Chief Executive of WorkSafe New Zealand. Taking up the role in 2020, Phil has held several leadership positions at WorkSafe since 2014. Phil’s previous role was Chief Operating Officer, leading WorkSafe’s Operations Group of over 300 employees, including High Hazards, Energy and Public Safety, Health and Safety Innovation, Operational Excellence, our General Inspectorate, Specialist Interventions, and Health and Technical Services.

WorkSafe’s role is to influence how work is done in New Zealand to make sure workers get home healthy and safe. Phil sees the role of the rep as critical in enhancing worker engagement and participation to help keep workers healthy and safe at work. WorkSafe recognise their role in supporting reps to do this. 



The Public Service Association or PSA is the largest democratic union in New Zealand representing the interests of members working in government departments, local government, the health sector, crown agencies, state-owned enterprises and community and government-funded agencies. Erin has a wealth of experience working in unions, championing the rights of workers. In her current role as National Secretary for the largest union in the country, Erin recognises the essential role health and safety reps play in keeping workers safe.