New Zealand Nurses Organisation media release, 28 November 2022
The New Zealand Nurses Organisation Tōpūtanga Tapuhi Kaitiaki o Aotearoa (NZNO) has welcomed this morning’s Government announcement that $200m per year will be spent addressing the wage gap between community-based frontline workers and their counterparts who work for Te Whatu Ora.
But it says the decision to leave out GP practices is regrettable.
NZNO Chief Executive Paul Goulter said the Government needs to be acknowledged for the initiative, which is particularly good news for workers with Māori and Pasifika health service providers whose wage gap has been crushingly unjust for so long.
“Earning up to 25 percent less just because of where you work is completely unacceptable in Aotearoa New Zealand, so we're really pleased the Government has committed to ongoing funding for this.
“We also think the boost will have a really positive impact for the Aged Care Residential sector, which has been hit really hard by staff leaving for better paid jobs in the public sector.”
However, Paul Goulter said more work still needed to be done because nurses working for general practices have been excluded.
“The Government says it’s not convinced a pay parity gap exists for those nurses. We don't agree with that at all, and both our members and employers say they are losing staff at rate of knots to jobs with Te Whatu Ora where the pay is much better.
“And in a lot of cases general practice employers are topping up wages just to keep their staff, and that money has come out of funding for other services which could have benefitted patients and the community.
“That’s not a sustainable situation long-term and the Government really needs to re-examine this decision. Otherwise Primary Health Care, and the communities that rely on it, will continue to suffer. It’s just not right that this sector will not participate.”
Paul Goulter also welcomed the Government’s assertion that the money must be used to fix existing pay differences.
“We’re really keen to see what mechanism will exist to ensure transparency and that the funding goes into the pockets of nurses and other health workers, rather than being absorbed into something else.”
Media inquiries: Rob Zorn, NZNO Media and Communications Advisor: 027 431 2617.