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Nurses to rally across New Zealand calling for increased health funding in Budget 2024

New Zealand Nurses Organisation media release, 8 May 2024

Members of the New Zealand Nurses Organisation NZNO Tōpūtanga Tapuhi Kaitiaki o Aotearoa will be holding public rallies at more than 20 locations tomorrow (Thursday 9 May), as part of NZNO’s national Day of Action 2024.

The nurses, midwives, health care assistants and kaimahi hauora will be calling on the Government to increase funding to Health in Budget 2024 to resolve the staffing crisis.

These actions follow information NZNO has received from Te Whatu Ora under the Official Information Act that revealed the extent of the staffing problem in Aotearoa New Zealand.

During the year ending 31 December 2023 more than a quarter of nursing shifts were below safe staffing targets, and some wards operated below safe staffing levels nearly all of the time.

NZNO Kaiwhakahaere Kerri Nuku said nursing staffing is still in extreme crisis with nurses still leaving for Australia on a regular basis, or leaving the profession altogether because their own and their patients’ wellbeing continue to be put at risk.

“Budget 2024 will be released at the end of the month and must include increased funding for health if we are to solve the staffing problem and develop a local nursing workforce that can provide high quality care that meets the physical and cultural needs of all New Zealanders.”

The nurses, at the Day of Action will be picketing to highlight unsafe staffing levels and speaking with the public about culturally appropriate nurse-to-patient ratios as a way of addressing the nursing staffing crisis.

Nurse-to-patient ratios have been implemented in Australia, California, British Columbia, Ireland and Wales, with exceptional results for nurses, patients and health budgets, and NZNO members want them put in place here, enforced by legislation.

But Ms Nuku says nurse-to-patient ratios are about more than just numbers.

“Skills mix and cultural appropriateness are also important to the staff we have on hand to provide care and Aotearoa could be a world leader in developing a ratios system that also meets our obligations under te Tiriti.”

At the rally nurses will be speaking about their expectations for the Budget. Student nurses will also be speaking about the need for better financial and cultural support, including being paid during their full-time clinical placements.

More than a third of nursing students don’t complete their studies and Ms Nuku says this most often results from financial hardship and a lack of cultural support for Māori and Pacific students.

“Our hope is that the Coalition Government will listen to the voices of our country’s nurses and bravely acknowledge the continuing health system crisis with a Budget that realistically addresses our alarming rates of nurse understaffing.”


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

More information – NZNO Day of Action rally times and locations

Join us at the 9 May NZNO Day of Action 

We're planning actions in the following locations on Thursday 9 May. Check back here for more details as they are confirmed.

  • Whangārei, 1.30-4pm outside Theatre at Whangārei Hospital
  • Kawakawa, 1-2.30 at the Paihia/Whangārei roundabout
  • Auckland, 2-4pm on Park Road outside Auckland City Hospital
  • Auckland 2-4pm outside North Shore Hospital
  • Auckland 1.30-4pm outside Waitakere Hospital
  • Auckland 2-4pm outside Middlemore Hospital
  • Auckland 2.30-3.30pm on the corner of Ranfurly Rd and Manukau Rd, Epsom
  • Auckland, 2-4pm outside Elmwood Village, 131 Hill Road Manurewa
  • Hamilton, 1-2pm at the corner of Ohaupo Road and Lorne Street
  • Tauranga, 1-2pm at Cameron Road outside Tauranga Hospital
  • Hastings, 1-2.30pm at Stortford Lodge corner
  • New Plymouth, 2-4pm on Tukapo St, Westown opposite CAMHs car park. Southern side of Taranaki Base hospital.
  • Whanganui, 11.30-1pm outside the Hospital Main Gate
  • Palmerston North, 11.30-12.30 on Ruahine St outside the main entrance
  • Masterton, 11.30-1pm, outside Wairarapa Hospital
  • Wellington, 11.30-1pm outside Wellington Hospital
  • Porirua, 11.30-1pm at Hartham Place North (Pedestrian area) at Cobham Court (lots of parking there)   
  • Nelson, 2.30-4.30pm at Sundial Square, Richmond 
  • Christchurch, 12.30-1.45pm at Christchurch Hospital by the boat sheds bridge
  • Christchurch, 2.30-3.30pm outside Bupa Parklands, Papanui Rd
  • Dunedin, 2-4pm at Dunedin Hospital main entrance AND 9am-6pm at Meridian Mall
  • Invercargill, 9-11am on Elles Road adjacent to Kew Hospital AND 2.30-4.30pm at the Elles Road and Tay Street intersections 

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