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


“Lies, damned lies and nursing statistics.”

Hon David Cunliffe
Minister of Health

11 June 2008

“Lies, damned lies and nursing statistics.”

Minister of Health David Cunliffe said today’s alarmist press release from the National Party on nursing could be put into perspective with a few simple figures.

The so called 46 percent increase in nursing vacancies (650 vacant positions) quoted by Jo Goodhew in her press release actually represents just 2.9 percent of the nursing workforce.

There are more than 22,000 nurses currently employed and working in DHBs around the country, at any one time there will be vacancies due to resignations, retirement and newly created nursing positions which organisations will be working to fill.

“Fluctuation of short-term vacancies is a normal part of nurses moving between jobs,” Mr Cunliffe said

However Mr Cunliffe was disappointed if any theatre session had to be cancelled due to nursing shortages.

“Auckland DHB has confirmed that of 216 theatre sessions postponed more than half of these occurred in 2005/2006 year. While that is not good enough it does not paint a deteriorating picture, but does highlight an area we need to continue to work on.”

“I also note that during this same period Auckland DHB actually increased the number of nurses it employed by 355.

“It is also convenient that Ms Goodhew forgot to mention that the increase in vacancies Waitemata DHB was due to the DHB recruiting to fill newly created nursing positions so that it could increase service delivery and staff a new 8 bed High Dependency Unit, 20 new medical beds at Waitakere Hospital and 24 new beds at North Shore Hospital.”

“National can’t have it both ways on the one hand Mr Ryall complains that there is insufficient capacity for the winter rush on the other hand Ms Goodhew complains that resulting additional vacancies while capacity is being built is a sign of system failure.”

“One of the reasons we need more nurses is because we are delivering more services, there are more people getting elective surgery and more people using diagnostic services.”

Mr Cunliffe said workforce development was an area that needed to be taken seriously but wildly exaggerated claims about increases in vacancies added nothing to the debate.

“Since coming to office this Government has dramatically increased pay for nurses and continues to engage on how best to develop this vital area of the health workforce.”


© Scoop Media

Parliament Headlines | Politics Headlines | Regional Headlines

Back Again: Government Approves TPP11 Mandate

The Government has approved a negotiating mandate for Trans-Pacific Partnership 11 (TPP11), which will ensure New Zealand businesses remain competitive in overseas markets.

Trade Minister Todd McClay says New Zealand will be pushing for the minimal number of changes possible to the original TPP agreement, something that the remaining TPP11 countries have agreed on. More>>




Gordon Campbell: On Why Labour Isn’t Responsible For Barnaby Joyce

As a desperate Turnbull government tries to treat the Barnaby Joyce affair as a Pauline Hanson fever dream – blame it on the foreigners! We’re the victims of the dastardly New Zealand Labour Party! – our own government has chosen to further that narrative, and make itself an accomplice. More>>


Rail: Greens Back Tauranga – Hamilton – Auckland Service

The Green Party today announced that it will trial a passenger rail service between Auckland, Hamilton and Tauranga starting in 2019, when it is in government. More>>


Housing: Voluntary Rental Warrant Of Fitness For Wellington

Wellington City Council is partnering with the University of Otago, Wellington, to launch a voluntary Rental Warrant of Fitness for minimum housing standards in Wellington, Mayor Justin Lester has announced. More>>


Treaty: Agreement In Principle Signed With Moriori

“The Crown acknowledges Moriori was left virtually landless from 1870, hindering its cultural, social and economic development. The Crown also acknowledges its contribution to the myths that the people of Moriori were racially inferior and became extinct." More>>


Susan Devoy: Call For Inquiry Into State Abuse Reaches UN

Race Relations Commissioner Dame Susan Devoy is in Geneva and has asked a United Nations committee to urge the New Zealand government to initiate an inquiry into the physical and sexual abuse of children and disabled people held in state institutions. More>>


(Not National): Cross-Party Agreement On Pike River Re-Entry

The commitment was signed this afternoon by the leaders of Labour, United Future, The Maori Party, and the Green Party and, together with the earlier commitment by New Zealand First, means that there is now a Parliamentary majority behind the families’ fight for truth and justice. More>>






Featured InfoPages

Opening the Election