Policy Analyses and Reports

Wellbeing Budget initiatives will require nurses

New Zealand Nurses Organisation media release, 30 May 2019

The New Zealand Nurses Organisation (NZNO) commends the Government for a good start towards a Wellbeing Budget for people living in New Zealand. In particular it commends the significant increase in Vote Health, and meaningful allocations in key areas such as: mental health and addictions; child wellbeing; family violence; and Māori and Pasifika wellbeing.

NZNO Kaiwhakahaere Kerri Nuku said that more specifically, significant investments have been promised in areas such as school-based health, homelessness, early learning to improve wellbeing; infrastructure support; and kaupapa Māori services. She said there is still more to be done.

“Nurses and nursing services will be key to each and every one of these extended services, but we agree with the Government’s observation that currently the required workforce needed for them is not in place.”

NZNO President Grant Brookes said NZNO was therefore pleased to see the Government identifying specific workforce targets such as the primary mental health services workforce (which must include nurses) and pathways to employment for the Māori and Pasifika health workforce.

“We are particularly pleased that the importance of supporting students to enter into nursing and midwifery practice has been recognised.”

However, Kerri Nuku said the glaring disparity in earnings between the DHB nursing workforce and those working in Māori and Pasifika, Aged Care and Community services should have been more clearly identified as a target in the Budget.

“NZNO looks forward to continuing to work with Government to develop the required nursing workforce and helping to ensure that working conditions and remuneration levels continue to improve so nursing remains an attractive option for young people seeking a professional career in health. Investing in the wellbeing of the workforce remains a priority.”


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

Wellbeing Budget a chance to address longstanding ethnic pay inequities

Joint statement: Kerri Nuku (Kaiwhakahaere) and Grant Brookes (President), New Zealand Nurses Organisation (NZNO)

28 May 2019

There has been much debate and positive anticipation among nurses about the potential of the new Wellbeing Budget and a possible resolution of longstanding ethnic pay inequities.

Nurses, who form the backbone of the health workforce, have been enduring up to 25 per cent pay disparities between those working in Māori providers and those in other parts of the health sector.

“These inequities result from the sustained underfunding of Māori health and limitations in the current funding formula. If we are to fulfil our obligations under te Tiriti o Waitangi we need the Wellbeing Budget to invest in Māori health and Māori nurses in particular,” says NZNO President Grant Brookes.

NZNO Kaiwhakahaere Kerri Nuku says, “Current pay inequities are unacceptable, and continue to put significant pressure on Māori nurses and their whānau. I know of cases where nurses have to get second jobs to cover their household bills. Their colleagues in others sectors simply aren’t experiencing this level of hardship.”

The two NZNO co-leaders have been meeting with political and health sector leadership in the leadup to the release of the Wellbeing Budget to amplify their call for ethnic pay parity.

Grant Brookes says, “Justice lies at the heart of wellbeing; and the forthcoming budget is a chance for the Government to do the right thing and resolve this issue once and for all.”

Kerri Nuku, who is party to the Waitangi Tribunal WAI 2575 health kaupapa claim, says “We have raised the issue of pay inequity at every forum we could in this land and taken it to the United Nations with no satisfactory resolution. If this Budget is truly about wellbeing we need to see greater investment in Māori health and Māori nurses.

“We will continue to work in partnership for ethnic pay parity for all nurses until this issue is resolved.”

Colleagues and supporters around the country are encouraged to contact politicians and health industry leaders asking for increased funding to Māori health and a realignment of the funding formula to recognise the real costs of providing culturally and clinically competent health care for Māori whānau.

For further information and informed comment contact:

Kerri Nuku, Kaiwhakahaere, New Zealand Nurses Organisation: 027 2656 064

Grant Brookes, President, New Zealand Nurses Organisation: 027 536 2851

Internationally Qualified Nurses: immigration and other issues

The New Zealand Nurses Organisation (NZNO) supports a strategic approach to the ethical recruitment and retention of internationally qualified nurses (IQNs), with the goal of systematically reducing over-reliance on IQNs and moving towards a more self-sufficient and sustainable nursing workforce in Aotearoa New Zealand.

Read the discussion document (PDF, 425KB)

Environmental Scan - health and nursing in New Zealand

The New Zealand Nurses Organisation compiled a brief report on the current health and nursing environment in Aotearoa New Zealand for the International Council of Nurses.

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Working for Health and Growth: Investing in the Health Workforce

The New Zealand Nurses Organisation (NZNO)  conducted a review of the Report of the World Health Organization's High Level Commission on Health Employment and Growth, providing a brief summary and analysis of its implications for Aotearoa New Zealand. The Report identifies ten  recommendations for the health workforce that will amplify economic, social, and health gains across the United Nations 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. .  

Country Report, ICN Workforce Forum 2015

NZNO compiled the following report for nursing in Aotearoa New Zealand presented at the International Council of Nurses Workforce Forum 2015, hosted by the Finnish Nurses Association in Helsinki in September, 2015 

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Country Report, ICN Workforce Forum 2013

NZNO compiled the following reports for nursing in Aotearoa New Zealand presented at the International Council of Nurses Workforce Forum 2016, hosted by the Irish Nurses and Midwives Association in Dublin, Ireland. 

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