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Pay Parity Necessary for Mâori and Iwi

New Zealand Nurses Organisation

Media Release

29 May 2008

Employers and Union United:

Pay Parity Necessary for Mâori and Iwi Primary Health

Mâori and Iwi Primary Health Care workers and employers are united today in their call for Parliament to provide the funding required to deliver pay parity with health care workers working for District Health Boards.

Members of the New Zealand Nurses Organisation have been in bargaining with 60 Mâori and Iwi Primary Health providers for a multi-employer collective agreement (MECA). Through the negotiation process, the two parties have built a strong relationship based on tikanga and partnership. This is reflected in the agreed name of the document – Te Rau Kôkiri.

While both parties agree that pay parity is necessary for the sector, there appears a clear gap between the current levels of funding available and those required for implementation.

NZNO members and employers’ representatives will deliver their petition, signed by over 11,000 New Zealanders, calling for Parliament to allocate the required funding at 1:00 pm today in front of Parliament. The petition will be received by Mâori Party Co-Leader Tariana Turia and representatives from most political parties will also attend.

NZNO lead advocate, Joanne Wrigley says that pay parity is absolutely necessary if the sector is to retain the staff required. “Primary Health nurses and health workers are often the first health professionals people see. Their dedicated and skilled delivery of services to Mâori communities are key to the success of Government’s primary health care strategy. This is about making sure these communities get the service required to achieve positive health outcomes,” says Joanne Wrigley.

According to a survey undertaken by NZNO in June this year, Registered Nurses working for Mâori and Iwi Primary Health providers earn on average $22.73/hr compared to a base rate of $26.66/hr for most Public Hospital nurses.

“The simple fact is that there are jobs available in the DHBs that pay considerably better than the equivalent position in the Mâori and Iwi Primary Health sector. It is getting harder and harder for the providers to retain the staff required to deliver a quality service. It’s the communities that suffer,” says Joanne Wrigley.

NZNO and the employers’ representatives hope to press their case further before the Health Select Committee.

ENDS

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