Ministerial Statement Ron Mark: Defence and Nurses Strike
Ministerial Statement Hon Ron Mark
“I wish to make a Ministerial Statement under Standing Order 356 in relation to the use of the Armed Forces to perform a public service in connection with an industrial dispute.
I am required under section 9 of the Defence Act 1990 to inform the House that this authority has been given and of the reasons for giving it, and to table it in the House at the first opportunity.
Following a request from the Minister of Health for New Zealand Defence Force assistance in the event of industrial action by nurses, I approved, under section 9 of the Defence Act 1990, the provision of a small detachment of up to 20 Regular Force nurses able to perform general nursing duties, if required, in accordance with priorities as provided by the Ministry of Health.
This modest provision was made to assist the overall effort by the Ministry of Health and District Health Boards to maintain life preserving services, and continuity of care, at locations across New Zealand in the event of industrial action on 12 July 2018.
Written approval for this action was provided by me to the Chief of Defence Force on 10 July, and I will table a copy of this letter today.
On 12 July, seventeen New Zealand Defence Force nurses undertook nursing duties at five Ministry of Health priority locations across New Zealand, to support the provision of life preserving services agreed between District Health Boards and the New Zealand Nurses Organisation:
· One nurse in Taupo;
· Two nurses in Palmerston North;
· Two nurses in Invercargill;
· Six nurses in Canterbury; and
· Six nurses in Waikato.
15 of the nurses worked in emergency departments, while two of the nurses in Waikato worked in intensive care.
I commend the Defence Force for being able to move quickly and provide high quality support. This effort reinforces the wide range of other tasks the Defence Force performs for our communities, and underlines their dedication and professionalism.