Parliament

Gordon Campbell | Parliament TV | Parliament Today | Video | Questions Of the Day | Search

 

Health Workers Strike Rally Speech Notes

Health workers deserve a fair deal

Health Workers Strike Rally Speech Notes

Rod Donald, Green MP Cathedral Square, Christchurch Midday 3 December 2001

Three weeks ago you demonstrated your determination to gain a fair settlement in your campaign for adequate wages and reasonable working conditions. The Green Party supported you then and the Green Party supports you now.

That action three weeks ago should have been enough. The government should have got the message. After all it's a Labour-Alliance Government - committed to working people, committed to pay equity and committed to public health. Or so we thought.

I feel very sorry that you all have to strike again. I know you are dedicated to your jobs. I know you are committed to providing a comprehensive, caring, safe, effective public health service. I know you do not want to have to strike and I congratulate you for standing up for what you deserve.

The government and the District Health Board should not be putting you through this. There is no excuse for underpaying health workers and I mean all health workers - nurses, social workers, occupational therapists, dental therapists, psychologists, orderlies, support staff and administration staff. None of you are getting a fair deal.

There is no excuse for the government to under-fund District Health Boards. Where is the Minister of Health Annette King? Why is she passing the buck to the Canterbury Health Board? She should instead be passing the bucks - boosting the budget, so the board can do its job.

If we had a National government there would have been Labour and Alliance speakers on the platform demanding them to adequately fund health. We know the mess is National's fault but many of you voted for Labour because you expected them to fix the health crisis.

If you voted Labour or the Alliance I want you to put pressure on your local MPs and ask them how their government can vote tomorrow to put $600m into their superannuation fund when today you are having to strike because the Canterbury Health Board says it can't find a fraction of that to meet your wage claims.

While you're about it, ask your local Labour and Alliance MPs where they're going to find $1,200m next year, $1,800m the year after and $2,510m the year after that to put into their superannuation fund when we have real needs right now for health, for education and for social services.

If the government is really concerned about the ageing population then it should be investing in health now to reduce the future costs of more older people. It should be paying you a decent wage now, so you can have a good quality of life not only in retirement but while you are working.

If Annette King believes the Canterbury Board's $20m deficit is due to mismanagement or poor governance, then she should work with the board to cut management waste and transaction costs without compromising the quality and level of our health service.

While she's about it Annette King should be doing something about the fact that the Health Board is giving the GP group Pegasus Health $75m this year and Pegasus has accumulated $26m from public health funds since its inception, including $3m this year. How can that be justified when the board has a $20 million dollar deficit?

But right now Annette King must meet the funding shortfall, so that staffing levels can be improved and you can all be paid properly.

The board has got to reduce nursing work loads, fix unhealthy rostering, reduce overwork and stress, improve education opportunities, develop decent career structures, as well as address poor wages and the expanding gap with other professionals. It can only do it if the deficit monkey is removed from its back by the government.

That is the commitment you would expect of a Labour/Alliance government. You would also expect a Labour/Alliance government to be committed to pay equity but when we asked the government last week why a brand new cop, first day on the beat, gets $41,000 dollars when a nurse graduate only gets an average of $26,000 dollars we were told it was all National's fault. We say "Fix it!"

It's time the government valued you. It's time the government respected you. It's time the government stopped forcing you onto the streets when you want to be caring for patients. If this was a National government we would also be saying its time to change the government. Instead, what you have to tell Labour and the Alliance is that they shouldn't take your support for granted. There is a progressive alternative if they fail to deliver because the Green Party is committed to your cause!

ENDS

© Scoop Media

 
 
 
Parliament Headlines | Politics Headlines | Regional Headlines

Supreme Court: Worksafe Decision On Whitall Pike River Prosecution Unlawful

The question in issue on the appeal was whether WorkSafe New Zealand acted to give effect to an unlawful agreement of this nature when it offered no evidence on charges against Peter William Whittall for breaches of the Health and Safety in Employment Act 1992...

The Supreme Court... has found that the decision to offer no evidence was made under an unlawful agreement to stifle prosecution. It has granted a declaration to that effect. More>>

 

Cullen To Chair: Tax Working Group Terms Of Reference Announced

Finance Minister Grant Robertson and Revenue Minister Stuart Nash today announced the Terms of Reference for the Tax Working Group and that the Group will be chaired by Sir Michael Cullen. More>>

ALSO:

Gordon Campbell: On The New Pike River Agency (And The Air Strike Wing)

Much of the sympathy the public still feels for the families of the Pike River miners has been sustained by the sense that the previous government – let alone the mining company and the processes of receivership and litigation – has never dealt honestly, or fairly, with them. More>>

ALSO:

Not Going Swimmingly: Contractor Cut, New Dates For Christchurch Sports Centre

“As an incoming Minister, I have been conducting a thorough review of progress on the Anchor projects and to learn of a $75 million budget blowout on this project was very disappointing..." More>>

ALSO:

Tertiary: Allowances, Loan Living Costs To Get Boost

“From 1 January, student allowance base rates and the maximum amount students can borrow for living costs will rise by a net $50 a week,” says Education Minister Chris Hipkins... further adjusted from 1 April 2018 in line with any increase in the CPI. More>>

ALSO:

Foreign Affairs: Patrick Gower Interviews Jacinda Ardern

Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern says discussions have already begun on how to bring climate change refugees into New Zealand under a Pacific seasonal employment plan... More>>

ALSO:

Gordon Campbell: On The Centre Right’s Love Of ‘Nanny State’

You’d almost think it was 2005 again. That was a time when the rugged individualists of the centre-right were being beset by government regulations on the nature of light-bulbs, the size of shower heads, the junk food available at school tuck shops and other such essentials... More>>

 
 
 
 
 

LATEST HEADLINES

  • PARLIAMENT
  • POLITICS
  • REGIONAL
 
 

Featured InfoPages

Opening the Election