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We can't afford to penny-pinch on nurses' pay

15 December 2005

We can't afford to penny-pinch on nurses' pay - Kedgley

New Zealand could run out of nurses if the New Zealand Nurses' Organisation's pleas for pay parity for primary nursing staff are ignored, the Green Party warns.

Nurses are to deliver a petition signed by 18,000 New Zealanders to Parliament today, asking for the Government to work with the NZNO and primary health care employers to develop a collective agreement that provides pay parity with those working in secondary health care services.

"The Greens strongly support primary health services' plea for pay parity and for additional Government funding to achieve this," Health Spokesperson Sue Kedgley says.

"The union predicts that by July 2006 most full time primary care health nurses will earn around $160 a week less than their DHB colleagues. If this is not immediately addressed we can expect primary health care nurses to pack up and head overseas or change to a career where their efforts are adequately rewarded.

"There is already a nursing shortage, New Zealand can afford to lose any more," Ms Kedgley says.

"Current funding is not adequate for pay parity with DHBs, but the Government can not afford to penny-pinch when it comes to nurses' pay. The success of the entire public health strategy depends on having a world class nursing workforce - the present and future health of New Zealanders depends on it."

ENDS

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