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Budget Signals Money For Nurses’ Pay

Budget Signals Money For Nurses’ Pay Is In The Coffers

“The Government has confirmed it is ready to pay nurses what they are worth,” said New Zealand Nurses Organisation spokesperson Laila Harré today.

Although the amount in Budget 2004 for nurses’ pay is unspecified, government has accepted that a “significant” amount will be required to settle nurses’ and midwives’ pay claim and that this money will need to be found over and above DHB budgets.

“This is good news for DHBs and therefore very good news for patients,” said Laila Harré.

Laila Harré said this was the positive sign needed prior to NZNO’s national MECA negotiations with DHBs next month.

“Government knows that significant extra money is needed to enable the DHBs to reach a Fair Pay settlement with their nurses and midwives,” she said.

Laila Harré said although nurses would mainly be looking to the Budget to address the pay gap between nurses and others in the state sector, many nurses and their families would appreciate the family assistance package.

Nurses would also benefit from increased funding to early childhood education and from the widening of eligibility to student allowances, although much more was needed to alleviate the burden of student debt.

It was disappointing that funding for a project aimed at improving quality care in the disability and aged care sector through a training programme and improved pay for those who achieve a new qualification, was not in the Budget.

“This project is urgently needed to address the very low pay and training needs for caregivers working in aged care,” she said.

2004 Budget Economic and Fiscal Update Health – Wage Bargaining (changed, unquantified risk) “Upcoming bargaining rounds in the health sector could result in significant increases in wage costs. If this cost is not met within DHBs’ funding paths or the three-year Health Funding Package it would decrease the operating balance or increase gross debt (via DHB deficits). This risk has been updated since the December Update to reflect new information. The Minister of Finance has yet to fully consider the quantum of this risk.”

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