What do we want?

NZNO wants the Minister of Health, Jonathan Coleman to fund a one year nurse entry to practice (NEtP) programme for every new graduate nurse.

Why is it important?

New Zealand is educating  nurses and then leaving large numbers of new graduates unable to find work in a clinical setting due to limited places on NEtP programmes and/or employers requiring them to “have experience” before they will employ them. The issue of employment in the health sector for new graduate RNs needs urgent attention. NZNO supports the national nursing organisation’s (NNO) vision for “100% graduate employment by 2018 at the latest”. (Report from the National Nursing Organisations to Health Workforce New Zealand, 2014). Many new graduates approach NZNO seeking assistance with finding a NEtP position.

The issues

  • Insufficient places on Nurse Entry to Practice (NETP) programmes
  • No NETP programme for new graduate Enrolled Nurses
  • Inadequate funding for NETP
  • Employers wanting ‘experienced’ registered nurses
  • New graduates working in aged care have inadequate support
  • Māori and Pacific new graduate nurses find it even harder to get jobs

What are we doing about it?

Keeping it on the Health Minister's agenda

NZNO meets every three months with the Minister of Health Jonathan Coleman and the issue of employment for new graduate nurses is an agenda item that we have visited with him a number of times, most recently in April this year.

Nursing matters

These are NZNO’s priorities for a healthy health system. There are seven key priorities for a sustainable, fully utilised, nursing workforce. Health workforce planning and full NETP employment are essential. Investment in nursing and access to NETP for all graduates has been a core NZNO priority since 2011. We use our priorities to lobby and influence political parties and other key decision in the development of their health policy and also measures governments against the manifesto priorities.

Essential skills listings for immigration

This is an area that NZNO always submits on. We have long advocated for a decrease in the listings for nurses citing the over-reliance on internationally qualified nurses and the under-utilisation of new New Zealand trained graduates as a risk for the future. NZNO is consulted by the Ministry when approved employers seek to recruit internationally and nearly always submits that there is no case for the recruitment. The exceptions are when there are highly specialised skills required.

Recently, for the first time, NZNO submitted that nursing roles be taken off the Essential skills in demand list altogether. You can read our submission here. (it's a pdf)

Health Workforce New Zealand:

NZNO has been the lead nursing group challenging HWNZ’s woeful lack of action on nursing workforce planning. Our dissatisfaction resulted in us sending HWNZ an open letter in late 2012. This letter was widely circulated to key politicians, throughout the Ministry, the National Health Board and media. Along with the national nursing organisations, HWNZ hosted a workshop on nursing workforce planning in November 2013. Although there have been follow-up meetings, sadly we have seen little development of a comprehensive nursing workforce strategy from HWNZ to date.

NZNO, along with the national nursing organisations, has as its priority full employment of nursing graduates onto NETP programmes and has been working with the Ministry’s Chief Nurse to try to achieve this.


NZNO continues to engage in the mainstream and social media about this important issue.

Kai Tiaki Nursing New Zealand

The issues have been canvassed and reported in Kai Tiaki Nursing New Zealand over the last 4 years. Kai Tiaki and the NZNO website are the key vehicles we use to convey to members the actions we have taken around this issue.  It is a pressing one and NZNO has been, and will continue to be, a strong advocate for the vision of full employment on a supported NETP programme for all New Zealand trained new nursing graduates. 


NZNO takes the opportunity to address the issues of new graduate employment in relevant submissions.


As individual employers consider workforce matters at a local level, NZNO organisers and professional nursing advisers discuss the need to consider a workforce strategy that prepares and nurtures the workforce of the future.

You can help!

Go straight to the top

Send an email to the Minister of Health and tell him your story 


and work your way out...

Send emails or letters to the opposition spokespeople for health

Labour: Annette King 


Green: Julie Anne Genter


NZ First: Barbara Stewart



Get in touch with your local MP and tell your story

They may not be able to influence funding but they can influence policy.

Find your local electorate and list MPs here.

Talk to the media

We need to keep this issue alive in the public arena.

Write a letter to the editor or call talk-back radio, it all helps.

Use the power of social media

Write a piece for the NZNO blog 

Post your story on the NZNO facebook page