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Double-Speak Minister Raising Hopes In Vain

Double-Speak Minister Raising Hopes In Vain

The looming prospect of nurses' strikes can be laid firmly at the door of Health Minister Annette King, whose two-faced dealings with nurses and District Health Boards will result in the shutting down of all but essential services at five North Island DHBs, ACT New Zealand Health Spokesman Heather Roy said today.

"Ms King is guilty of raising nurses' hopes, only to bring them crashing down. While actively encouraging them to seek higher salaries, she doesn't give DHBs the resources to pay them more," Mrs Roy said.

"The Government's clear support for national awards has led the Nurses' Union to take the first step, by insisting on negotiating multi-employer contracts. The next step will clearly be even larger Mecca's, or a nationwide award, which we are seeing with other health professionals.

"As Opposition spokesperson on Health, Annette King won the nursing vote by implying that they would be paid more under a Labour government. Despite widespread support from the nurses' union, Ms King has failed to deliver. By ring-fencing almost half the small amount of new funding, for primary healthcare, the Minister has let nurses down, and put hospitals in a hopelessly compromised position

"Nurses have had their expectations raised, but DHBs are underfunded against these expectations. In addition, industrial relations framework puts DHBs under pressure, leaving nurses feeling that their only option is to strike," Mrs Roy said.

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