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Annette King to Take Nurses’ Parity Call to Govt

Annette King to Take Nurses’ Call For Pay Parity Back to Government

The Minister of Health, Annette King, has agreed to take a message to Government from over 200 primary health nurses who want the Government to work with the New Zealand Nurses Organisation and employers to close the pay gap between them and their colleagues employed in public hospitals under the Fair Pay deal won earlier this year.

The message was presented by Chiquita Hansen, chair of the NZNO Primary Health Nurses Council.

In agreeing to take the message back, Annette King acknowledged the call for pay parity, and wished NZNO all the best in achieving it through negotiations planned this year. She encouraged employers to engage in the process.

The nurses and others involved in primary health care are attending a primary health conference in Auckland today and tomorrow. Primary health care includes GP practice, district, Plunket, Family Planning, public and school nurses, as well as all nurses who care for people in their homes and wider community.

NZNO spokeswoman Laila Harré said the conference participants strongly supported the government’s primary health care strategy.

“But the backbone of the strategy is the nurses who deliver it every day,” she said.

“Since the Fair Pay settlement the pay gap between nurses working in public hospitals and those doing a job of equal value to the community in primary health has widened. That puts pressure on recruitment and retention of nurses in primary health and undervalues their job of delivering health care at the heart of communities.”

Laila Harré said NZNO welcomed today’s support for its objectives from the Minister. However, she said that government would have to get involved more directly if the cost of pay parity was not to fall on patients.

NZNO is currently negotiating with Family Planning and Plunket and is balloting members in the wider primary health sector over seeking fair pay through a multi employer national collective agreement covering 1100 employers. The results of that ballot will be known in three weeks.


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