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Doctors National Collective Agreement

15 October 2004

"First Senior Doctors National Collective Agreement Achieved For Over 10 Years”

“Senior doctors employed by district health boards have overwhelmingly voted to ratify their first national collective agreement since 1992,” said Mr Ian Powell, Executive Director of the Association of Salaried Medical Specialists, today. The national agreement will run until 30 June 2006.

“The vote in favour of acceptance of the proposed national agreement was a massive 98% with majorities in all the affected district health boards. It follows difficult marathon negotiations which commenced in late April 2003 and, since October last year, involved an independent mediator.”

“We hope that the improvements in key employment conditions provide a stronger basis for recruitment and retention to help address New Zealand’s present unacceptable level of senior doctor shortages. These improvements include new salary scales, subsidised superannuation, annual leave, and remuneration for working on after-hours emergency rosters. The fragmentation of employment conditions for over a decade has been unhelpful for recruitment and retention.”

“The new national agreement is also based on empowering senior doctors to have greater influence over their working conditions, at their workplaces and within their district health boards. The best way to ensure that health services are well planned and well delivered, and that best use is made of health funding, is to allow senior doctors into the engine-room of decision-making.”

“In the 1990s senior doctors were denied the right to a national collective agreement because of the restrictive and unfair Employment Contracts Act which fortunately has been repealed. We acknowledge that we could not have negotiated this first national
agreement for senior doctors for over 10 years without the much fairer and practical Employment Relations Act of the current government.”

“These national negotiations have been a long and hard slog with moments of acrimonious conflict with health managers. But ultimately they were worth it,” concluded Mr Powell.


The details of the national agreement are in the September issue of the Association’s quarterly publication, The Specialist, which is also accessible on our website The agreement covers 20 of the 21 DHBs (Northland will have the ability to join it in July 2005 when its current local collective agreement expires. Work is currently underway on the paperwork in preparation for signing. Below is a breakdown of the national vote:

DHB Response For Against
Waitemata 46% 97% 3%
Auckland 54% 98% 2%
Counties Manukau 58% 98% 2%
Bay of Plenty 53% 100% 0%
Waikato 60% 100% 0%
Tairawhiti 41% 57% 43%
Taranaki 64% 96% 4%
Hawkes Bay 60% 93% 7%
Lakes 73% 97% 3%
Whanganui 42% 94% 6%
MidCentral 80% 100% 0%
Wairarapa 63% 100% 0%
Hutt Valley 60% 100% 0%
Capital & Coast 54% 98% 2%
Nelson Marlborough 56% 100% 0%
West Coast 67% 100% 0%
Canterbury 62% 99% 1%
South Canterbury 46% 100% 0%
Otago 64% 97% 3%
Southland 50% 92% 8%
TOTALS 58% 98% 2%


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