MERAS Structure and Function > Structure and Function

The Structure and Function of MERAS

MERAS, as the only specific midwifery union in New Zealand, has the advantage of working closely with the New Zealand College of Midwives (the 'NZCOM' or 'College') to ensure that professional requirements are met within a midwifery employment agreement.

The MERAS employment agreement recognises the regulatory and professional structure which oversees the midwifery profession in New Zealand. An aligned employment framework and professional framework will assist primary/secondary service interface issues and will enable all midwives to see themselves as one profession with the same standards and same professional accountabilities regardless of their practice setting.

How does MERAS Function?

Ongoing relationship to the NZCOM.

MERAS is separate from the NZCOM but integrated into the broader ethos and culture of the NZCOM. It has a distinct structure and governance. MERAS structures and functions do not duplicate the functions of the NZCOM.

Workplace representatives

Membership in each workplace is able to elect their own delegates to represent them both in the workplace and within the structure of MERAS.

National Representative Council

The National Representative Council sets the policy and strategic direction for the membership. It is made up of up to eleven (11) regional midwife employee representatives drawn from the following District Health Board catchment areas.

As membership continues to grow Regional committees will be established in the following areas:

Northland/Waitemata/Auckland/Counties Manukau (4)

Waikato (1)

Bay of Plenty/Lakes/Tairawhiti (1)

Taranaki/Hawke's Bay/Mid Central/ Whanganui (1)

Hutt/Capital and Coast/Wairarapa (1)

Nelson Marlborough/West Coast/Canterbury/South Canterbury (2)

Otago/Southland (1)

Additional membership of the council comes from: The NZCOM Chief Executive Officer or proxy, two other members appointed by NZCOM and the General Manager of MERAS.


Background to the establishment of MERAS by the NZCOM

The NZCOM is New Zealand’s professional organisation for midwives. Almost 90% of practising midwives both employed and self employed are NZCOM members.

The NZCOM sets, promotes and maintains the standards of practice for the midwifery profession. The College has also developed a quality assurance process for the profession to assist with maintaining professional standards. The College consults and negotiates with the Ministry of Health on behalf of self employed and employed midwives who work as LMCs and claim fees from Section 88 of the Health and Disability Services Act. In addition the College provides midwives with professional practice advice and information, legal advice and representation, and education and research.

In 2002 the NZCOM, at the urging of its membership, initiated and registered a separate structure for the purpose of providing midwives with a midwifery specific union and employment agreement,. A General Manager was appointed to take on the responsibility of making MERAS a reality. MERAS has been actively working over the last 18 months towards the achievement of the objectives as developed by its foundation membership.

How does MERAS compliment the work of the NZCOM?

MERAS supports the philosophy behind the NZCOM and is committed to developing the MERAS MECA as an employment agreement for employed midwives that will assist the attainment of the holistic approach to midwifery care within an employed setting.

MERAS’s industrial work complements the focus of the NZCOM.