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Government not vigorous enough in growing nurses to achieve health targets

New Zealand Nurses Organisation media release, 8 March 2024

The New Zealand Nurses Organisation Tōpūtanga Tapuhi Kaitiaki o Aotearoa (NZNO) says it’s great the Government has announced five new health targets, but wonders how they will be met without a full nursing workforce that is locally grown and culturally safe.

NZNO Kaiwhakahaere Kerri Nuku said we are not going to achieve reduced wait times and better treatment while our hospitals and emergency departments remain clogged and our Primary Health Care centres are closing.

“Every day we read news reports of GP practices shutting up shop or reducing services while they lose both doctors and nurses. Nurses are increasingly looking at moving overseas, because they feel disillusioned with a health system that remains underfunded, understaffed and fundamentally unsafe.”

Ms Nuku said we need a robust workforce that can provide the high-quality care Dr Reti envisions for all the people of New Zealand.

“For those most in need in Aotearoa that must include a culturally safe workforce, so people receive care that is appropriate for them and helps them engage with services.

“Unfortunately we’re not seeing any real action around this and it would be great if the Government’s ‘vigorous new direction in health’ included more vigour in attracting New Zealanders to take up nursing studies, especially Māori and Pacific people.

“We need Pay Equity across all of nursing so people are guaranteed a good job when they graduate, and we need students to be supported financially and culturally while they study so they make it to the end and graduate.”

She said that if the Government doesn’t do these things with vigour, the challenges it has set itself will go unmet.

“We must commit to growing our own workforce, and NZNO wants to be part of that workforce strategy.

“Then maybe these targets could be achieved via high quality health care for our diverse population delivered through services that are culturally safe and closer to the communities that need them.”


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

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Rob Zorn
027 431 2617  |  04 494 8242

Samesh Mohanlall
021 240 3420  |  04 494 6839

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