The executive director of New Zealand's largest medical union is stepping down after 30 years.
Ian Powell has announced that he will be departing the Association of Salaried Medical Specialists at the end of next year.
Powell has worked with the organisation since it was set up in April 1989, fighting to promote pay equity and give a voice to the medical profession.
He said the union started with around 1200 members and employed just two permanent staff. Now it has nearly 5000 members with 17 permanent employees.
"We are now the biggest medical union in the country with membership reaching around 90 per cent of permanent senior medical and dental DHB staff."
Powell said the reason for his lengthy walk to exit was to allow time for succession planning and to manage the transition.
"I hope that the early heads up will enable more quality applicants to consider putting their names forward for my replacement."
He said much had changed in the past 30 years but the message he hoped would continue was that the public health service was worth fighting for.
"Not just to protect it but also to enhance and promote it....our unionism brief is much broader now than 'pay and rations' as we fight for and promote the values of an accessible, quality public health service."