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Maori Primary Health Care – Wages Below Standard

Media release below;
17 September 2008

Maori Primary Health Care – Wages Below Standard: Te Rau Kokiri a Solution

The New Zealand Nurses Organisation (NZNO) has been lobbying the government, in partnership with employers, for additional funding to be provided to Maori and Iwi primary health providers, though Te Rau Kokiri (a Multi Employer Collective Agreement) to address the serious wage inequality that currently exists within this sector of primary health.

A presentation at the NZNO conference at 1pm on Thursday 18th September at the Duxton Hotel on Wakefield Street in Wellington will signal what steps need to be taken to meet the goals of the campaign.

Joanne Wrigley is the advocate for the bargaining, she said “Funding is not currently equitable within primary health – Maori and Iwi primary health care providers receive less funding than their GP practice counterparts this means that they are not able to pay the same as the majority of primary health employers in NZ. Maori and iwi providers are the poor cousins when it comes to the provision of funding for this area of primary health.”

When a petition of more than 11,000 signatures was presented to parliament in May this year calling for additional funding Minister of Health, David Cunliffe said “I understand what you are saying. You bring with you the suffering of many of our people whose health is poor and whose disparities are large. I know you are the right people to reach in and through those communities”.

“Mr Cunliffe has a responsibility to reinforce his words with action otherwise no one is better off – not the workers and not the communities as they struggle to recruit and retain staff on below standard wages for primary health.” Wrigley said.

“NZNO members have urgently requested to meet with the Ministry of Health and the District Health Boards (DHBs).The total cost of achieving pay parity with DHB nurses is estimated at 11 million – it is very achievable and it is necessary as the gap in wages for these workers is not only below the level achieved by DHB nurses but now also below what other primary health nurses are being paid” Wrigley said.


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