Thousands of nurses, midwives, health care assistants and kaimahi hauora, alongside their whānau and communities, will Maranga Mai! Rise Up! to rally on Saturday in 20 locations around the country. They will be calling on political parties to have policies to address the nursing and health crisis in this election year.
The rallies, organised by the New Zealand Nurses Organisation Tōpūtanga Tapuhi Kaitiaki o Aotearoa (NZNO), will see these essential workers, their friends and their families taking action by joining together to march, hear speeches, wave banners and enjoy family-focused activities, between 11am and 1pm in most places.
This is the first time all 57,000 NZNO members are being called to rise up for united action, regardless of the area of nursing they work in (hospitals, aged care, Māori and Iwi, Primary Health Care, Plunket, Hospice etc) because, NZNO says, the issues boil down to the same things for every nurse, everywhere: unsafe staffing levels and a fundamental undervaluing of the work they do.
The purpose of the rallies is for health workers and communities to call on politicians and their parties to have policies this election year to address the nursing crisis and for health to top their list of election priorities.
"So much has been asked of nurses, and they have delivered like the courageous and professional workforce they are, right across the Health Sector," said NZNO Chief Executive Paul Goulter.
"But decades of poor planning, inadequate funding and outright neglect across successive governments have led us to a time of absolute crisis in terms of pay, staffing resources and morale across the nursing sector."
He said just about any nurse you speak to will say patients are not receiving adequate care.
"That’s worrying for our elderly and infirm but it’s also soul-destroying for nurses. Add to that poor conditions, chronic overwork and the Government’s refusal to settle outstanding pay issues, and it’s no wonder thousands have left for Australia and thousands more are making plans to leave."
Paul Goulter said the nursing crisis can be fixed, but that the Government needs to stop pussy-footing around.
"We need 4000-5000 more nurses; it’s as simple as that. So we want to see everything possible being done without delay.
"We need better pay and conditions now, so nurses are valued and stop leaving; free training and other incentives for nursing students - a third of whom drop out because we make it too hard to qualify; more Māori and Pasifika nurses; and a health system that upholds te Tiriti so people get culturally appropriate care and inequities are reduced."
NZNO will also be launching a petition at the rallies calling on political parties to commit to fixing the nursing crisis and Paul Goulter said it is intended that the petition response will be massive.
"This is a chance for the public in Aotearoa New Zealand to express their concerns for the wellbeing of our nurses and their concerns about the future of our health system.
"The crisis is worsening by the day but it can be fixed with commitment and courage; and we want the public’s help in sending that message to those wanting our votes in 2023."
- Media advisories will also be sent to media at regions where rallies will be held.
- Spokespeople will be available at the rallies and interviews can be arranged in advance (email email@example.com).
- Journalists are welcome to report on and participate in the rallies (and to sign the petition).
Rallies will be held in the following locations.
Kaitāia 11am-1pm - Gather at the old Warehouse Carpark, 11 Matthews Avenue, Kaitāia for the rally with speeches, petition-signing and then whānau time.
Rawene 11am-1pm - Gather at the Boat Ramp Carpark, 5 Clendon Esplanade, Rawene for the rally with speeches, petition-signing and then whānau time.
Kerikeri 11am-1pm - Gather outside the ANZ Bank, corner of Kerikeri Road and Fairway Drive, rally with speeches, gather signatures on petition, then whānau time.
Whangārei 11am-1pm - Gather at Pūtahi Park, Town Basin (next to the Canopy Bridge). Rally with speeches then whānau time with activities (BYO picnic lunch).
Dargaville 11am-1pm - Gather at Countdown/The Warehouse Carpark, Victoria Street, Dargaville, then speeches followed by fun and whānau activities.
Auckland 11am-2pm - Gather at Myers Park, from 10.30am; march from Myers Park to Auckland Domain. Rally with speeches then whānau time with kai at Auckland Domain.
Hamilton11am-1pm - Gather at Hamilton Gardens, Cobham Drive (Rose Garden side near the playground and rotunda by gate 2 entrance and carpark). BYO picnic and join together for speeches, activities, kai and music.
Tauranga11am-1pm - Gather at NZNO Car Park, Tauranga. Hikoi from NZNO Offices 141 Cameron Road, Tauranga to The Strand and back, stopping at Hairy Maclary park and Red Square. Return to NZNO for speeches, kai and refreshments. FREE Parking available at 94 Durham Street carpark building.
Whakatāne 11am-1pm - Gather at Wharaurangi, the Strand, for rally and speeches.
Gisborne 11am-2pm - Gather at Heipipi park from 10am; march from Heipipi Park to Kelvin Park at 11am; rally with speeches then whānau time.
Palmerston North 11am-1pm - Picnic in The Square. Bring your own food and join in the activities.
Masterton 11am-1pm - Meet at Town Hall Square. Bring a picnic, your family and a chair.
Wellington 11am-1pm - Gather at Civic Square, march to Parliament, then speeches followed by BYO picnic, music and face painting.
Nelson 11am-1pm - Gather at Tahunanui Beach, behind the Nightingale Memorial Library, then speeches followed by fun and whānau activities.
Blenheim 11am-1pm - Gather in Seymour Square, 37 Seymour St
Kaikōura 11am-1pm - Gather at the Esplanade opposite Dolphin Encounter.
Christchurch 11am-1pm - Gather at Bridge of Remembrance for march to Victoria Square, then speeches at Victoria Square followed by fun and whānau activities.
Ashburton 11am-1pm - Meet at the BBQ area in Ashburton Domain for the rally and a free sausage sizzle.
Dunedin 11am-1pm - Gather at First Church for march to the Octagon, then speeches followed by fun and whānau activities.
Invercargill 11am-Noon - Gather at the Gala Street Reserve.
For more information contact:
Rob Zorn | Communications and Media Advisor, New Zealand Nurses Organisation
Email: firstname.lastname@example.org, Tel: +64 (0)4 494 8242, Mobile: +64 (0)27 431 2617