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Budget completely overlooks health front line

New Zealand Nurses Organisation media release, 18 May 2022

The New Zealand Nurses Organisation Tōpūtanga Tapuhi Kaitiaki o Aotearoa (NZNO) is profoundly disappointed with the Budget announced this afternoon in which nurses barely get a mention.

NZNO Chief Executive Paul Goulter said NZNO has been very clear and expressed to Government on many occasions that the health front line made up of nurses, health care assistants and kaimahi hauora across all sectors is in crisis, and that significant funds were needed in this Budget to address staffing and pay issues.

"The Government seems oblivious to the fact that it cannot have a robust and workable health system when there are chronic staffing issues that are worsening every day, but it seems the best it can do is 76 million for workforce development over four years.

"We’re not even sure what that means, but $19m a year is really just loose change.

"There is nothing mentioned about nursing wages or conditions, or about how the Government intends to address the widening pay gap between nurses who work for DHBs and those in other sectors - and that is just going to perpetuate health inequities and staffing problems for non DHB providers.

NZNO Kaiwhakahaere Kerri Nuku said the Budget was disheartening.

"There is nothing here that invests to build a sustained public health response. The allocated funding seems just pennies in the scheme of things, so we’re just seeing a perpetuation of underfunding for some of the people and services in communities that we desperately need to be there for us.

"Without yet understanding the details, we can see there is funding for workforce development across the Māori health workforce, but the amounts are too small to address the wage parity issue, and Māori and iwi health will continue as the poorest cousin in the health system. That’s a tragedy, really."

Paul Goulter said NZNO would do more analysis of the Budget over the next few days.

"We’re looking forward to getting some of the detail from Government that we hope will show concrete support for the health workers, but it’s pretty clear at this point that the urgent need at the frontline has gone unacknowledged.

"This is a real opportunity that has been missed, and that will be a sad outcome for many needing quality health care for themselves and their loved ones.

"I don’t think we can call it a wellbeing budget at all."


For more information contact:

Rob Zorn | Communications and Media Advisor, New Zealand Nurses Organisation

Email:, Tel: +64 (0)4 494 8242, Mobile: +64 (0)27 431 2617

Direct Media Enquiries To:

Please send all media requests in writing to

NZNO communications and media advisors are:

Rob Zorn
027 431 2617  |  04 494 8242

Samesh Mohanlall
021 240 3420  |  04 494 6839

Support and member enquiries: 0800 28 38 48 or