New Zealand Nurses Organisation media release, 11 May 2022
The New Zealand Nurses Organisation Tōpūtanga Tapuhi Kaitiaki o Aotearoa (NZNO) says it will be launching a new campaign tomorrow through which it intends to win the political and resourcing commitments needed to address the nursing shortage crisis permanently – and across the whole health sector.
12 May is International Nurses Day, and NZNO Chief Executive Paul Goulter says that’s the perfect time to launch Maranga Mai! (meaning ‘Rise up!’), an ambitious campaign that calls on every nurses everywhere in New Zealand to rise up together and demand that they be resourced and enabled to do their jobs safely and well.
“So much has been asked of nurses, midwives, health care assistants and kaimahi hauora, and they have delivered like the courageous and professional workforce they are, right across Health. I am not just talking about our DHB-run hospitals.
“But decades of poor planning, inadequate funding and outright neglect have led us to a time of absolute crisis in terms of pay, staffing resources and morale across the nursing sector.
“NZNO intends to go hard. We will be relentless in pursuit of our goals and we will not stop until they are achieved.”
Central to the Maranga Mai! campaign will be the ‘Five Fixes’ which form the charter of demands for the campaign:
- te Tiriti actualised within and across the health system
- more nurses across the health sector
- pay and conditions that meet nurses’ value and expectations
- more people training to be nurses
- more Māori and Pasifika nurses.
Paul Goulter says these are what is needed to solve the crisis and that NZNO must be at the table when decisions are made affecting nursing.
“We are more than 55,000 strong and growing. We have a portfolio of solutions and it’s time for Government to listen and involve us so we can work together on fixing this.”
He said a start would be addressing Pay Equity issues for DHB nursing staff without delay and honouring back pay obligations, which would reassure nurses they are valued and go some way towards restoring trust.
“And then those improved rates have to be rolled out across other sectors so people will want to become nurses and want to work where they are needed instead of where the better money is. I’m talking about Aged Care, Primary Care, and especially Māori and iwi providers where nurses earn 30 percent less than their colleagues in other sectors.”
He said a second solution is to implement mandatory staff to patient ratios in every area of health, supported by staff allocation systems and programmes that match nursing resources to patient needs.
“These are the sorts of things it is going to take to guarantee quality of care and that nurses have the time to see that patient needs are met in a compassionate and holistic way.
“Make no mistake about it, people are sicker than they need to be and some are dying because of the nursing crisis and it is time to get serious about addressing this.
“We are deadly serious. Maranga Mai! is not just a campaign for every nurse everywhere. It’s a campaign that will benefit all people in Aotearoa New Zealand because nurses who are well-resourced to do their work without the constant stress of being short-staffed will improve access to good health care and services for all of us.”
Maranga Mai! will be launched at an online forum for members at 11am on Thursday 12 May 2022.
Media inquiries: Rob Zorn, NZNO Media and Communications Advisor: 027 431 2617.