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NZNO to refer proposed pay equity settlement to Employment Relations Authority

New Zealand Nurses Organisation media release, 10 May 2022

The New Zealand Nurses Organisation, Tōpūtanga Tapuhi Kaitiaki o Aotearoa (NZNO) says its members and others affected by the recently proposed DHB Nursing Pay Equity settlement have indicated they want the proposed settlement referred to the Employment Relations Authority (ERA) for a determination.

This follows widespread concern from members and other affected DHB employees that the DHB employers were not honouring an agreement in the 2020 DHB/NZNO MECA (signed last year) that each employee would receive back pay on the basis of the new rates to 31 December 2019.

Instead, a series of lump sum payments in recognition of past work has been proposed, amounting to much lower remuneration for many nurses than they would have received had they been back-paid as originally agreed.

Around 40,000 nursing staff covered by the DHB Nursing Pay Equity claim were invited to participate in a poll which closed at 5pm on Monday 9 May. Poll participants chose, by a significant majority, to refer the proposed agreement to the ERA over the second option which was to proceed with a ratification vote, once a final proposed settlement had been agreed.

In April NZNO commissioned a legal review of the proposed settlement which found it was contrary to the Equal Pay Act with regards to the backpay issue.

NZNO has now instructed its lawyers to file an application with the ERA to seek a determination that the DHBs are required to individually backdate the pay equity rates to 31 December 2019 as was formally agreed in collective bargaining last year.

Determinations will also be sought on the rates themselves, including concerns from some senior nurses about the effect of the new pay equity rates, and on a review mechanism to ensure pay equity with male-dominated professions is maintained into the future.

NZNO Chief Executive Paul Goulter said the timing of the review would be entirely up to the ERA but that NZNO would ask for urgency.

“It may well be that when the ERA receives our application, it directs all parties into a mediation or facilitation process as a first step.

“We have informed the DHBs that we will be filing with the ERA, but that we are willing to do all we can to narrow the differences between us in the meantime.”

He said NZNO would keep members and other affected DHB nursing employees informed about when the application would be filed and other matters relevant to the filing of the application as steps unfold.


Media inquiries: Rob Zorn, NZNO Media and Communications Advisor: 027 431 2617.


Please refer to the attached media FAQ that explains some of the complex issues behind the proposed DHB Nursing Pay Equity settlement: 2022-05-10 NZNO Post poll media FAQ.pdf

Direct Media Enquiries To:

Please send all media requests in writing to

NZNO communications and media advisors are:

Samesh Mohanlall
021 240 3420  |  04 494 6839

Karen Howarth
027 725 2680  |  04 494 8242


Support and member enquiries: 0800 28 38 48 or