CTU People

For a full list of CTU staff and contact details, click here

Richard Wagstaff


Richard Wagstaff was elected NZCTU President in 2015. He was previously NZCTU Vice President and one of two national secretaries of the Public Service Association.

Richard is currently a member of the ILO Governing Body and the ILO Committee for Freedom of Association. Richard is also a member of the New Zealand Tripartite Future of Work Group.

Richard began working as a full time paid union official in 1988 as a researcher. Later he became an organiser, working in Auckland with PSA members in the health and disability sectors.

In 1997 Richard was appointed as a national operations manager, responsible for PSA members throughout the country in the health and community sectors.  He then took up the position as a national secretary of the PSA in 2000 which he held until becoming CTU President in 2015. The PSA is New Zealand’s largest trade union and as national secretary Richard was responsible for overseeing the implementation of the PSA’s industrial and political strategies and it’s operations.

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Melissa  Ansell-Bridges


Melissa was elected CTU Secretary in October 2019.

Ansell-Bridges was previously the Director of Equity New Zealand where she had worked since 2016. As the Director of a small union, she oversaw all areas of the union’s operations. Ansell-Bridges has been a member of the Film Industry Working Group where she has successfully advocated to secure the right for contractors in the screen industry to be able to collectively bargain for minimum terms and conditions. She holds a BA/LLB(Hons) with majors in Politics and Sociology.

Ansell-Bridges believes deeply in the power of working people to come together to create social change, “Working people and their unions have the ability to make New Zealand a better place at work and also more broadly within society as well. The power of collective action; what can be achieved when we work together, is a deep motivator for me.”

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Syd Keepa

Vice-President Maori

Syd Keepa was elected Vice President Maori in October 2010. He has tribal affiliations with Ngati Awa, Ngati Maru, and Ngai Tuhoe and a long history of active involvement in the union movement.

Syd has worked in forestry, and the pulp and paper sector and also as a truck driver. He has been a member of the Timber Workers Union, Northern Drivers Union, Pulp and Paper Workers Union and the Wood Industries Union. He was a delegate with the Northern Drivers Union (1979) and the Pulp & Paper Workers Union (1982) and went on to become Branch President of the Pulp & Paper Workers Union. When the Timber Workers Union and the Pulp & Paper Workers Union amalgamated it became the Wood Industries Union. Syd was Auckland Branch President for the Wood Industries Union, then National President of the Wood Industries Union.

He commenced working with the National Distribution Union in 1999 as Apiha Maori and Wood Sector Organiser in Auckland.

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Rachel Mackintosh


Rachel was elected Vice-President of the CTU in October 2015 and re-elected in 2019.

She is an Assistant National Secretary at E tū, the largest private sector union in the country.

Rachel’s involvement in the union movement began when she was working as a copy-editor in the publishing industry and became site delegate for the EPMU. She started as an EPMU official in 2003. As an organiser, she worked across media and manufacturing industries. She co-ordinated the EPMU’s plastics industry strategy for several years, before moving into union leadership.

As Vice-President of the CTU, Rachel works with members of Te Runanga and members of the National Affiliates Council, to foster te Tiriti relationships across the union movement. She has worked with the largest public sector unions to negotiate Gender Pay Principles for the broad public service. She was a key worker representative at the International Labour Organisation for the negotiation of a major international convention, the Violence and Harassment Convention, 2019 (No190). Rachel works with the CTU President as a member of the tripartite Future of Work Forum.

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