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King Should Stay Out Of Canterbury Health Dispute

United Future leader, Hon Peter Dunne, says it would be foolish for the Minister of Health to become more involved in the Canterbury nurses' dispute.

Mr Dunne says it is absolutely scandalous that patients' lives and safety are being put at risk by the continuation of the dispute.

He says that alone should be the primary motivation to both the nurses and the board to settle the dispute without further delay. "This dispute is a direct consequence of the government's restructuring of the health system, and is likely to be the forerunner of others elsewhere in the future, but having the Minister leap in every time there is a crisis will solve nothing."

"While the Minister ought to be vigorously holding the DHB accountable for resolving this dispute, and making the government's expectations very clear in this regard, she should not become directly involved." "Any direct Ministerial involvement now would simply fuel the situation and more likely prolong rather than curtail this particular dispute, as well as setting the scene for the course of similar disputes in the future."

"The Minister has already made one disastrous intervention by attending a meeting in Christchurch last week."

"In doing so, she unwisely built up expectations, which I am certain have led to this week's rejection by nurses of the DHB's latest pay offer."

"Neither the nurses, nor the DHB nor the affected patients deserve any more uncertainty and delay in resolving this issue."

"Therefore, the Minister should stay well clear of it, and leave the resolution of this crisis to those on both sides who know what they are doing," Mr Dunne says.


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