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Parties encouraged to reach agreement

Parties encouraged to reach agreement

In response to the strike notices issued by the New Zealand Nurses Organisation and the Service and Food Workers union, Associate Health Minister Pete Hodgson says he sees no particular reason why a heads of agreement cannot be finalised in the next fortnight.

"DHBs and the providers have been in negotiations for several weeks. The government is confident that with good will on both sides, parties can reach an understanding on the likely increase before the strike is due to start on 30 September."

Mr Hodgson said the government had increased funding of the aged care sector by $131 million in the last two years and had reached a record $896 million for 2005/06.

"The increase in this year's budget, and prospective further increases in next year's budget, are an indication that health sector costs will increase significantly in coming years. The budget increases cannot happen if, on Saturday, New Zealanders vote for a party that has unaffordable tax cuts on its mind."

"The government acknowledges the endorsement that the industry and unions gave yesterday to Finance Minister Michael Cullen's commitment to significantly increase funding for the aged care sector."

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