NZNO member nurses, health care assistants, midwives, kaiawhina hauora and student nurses took action across Aotearoa for increased health funding and safe staffing on Thursday 9 May

Read our media release: Official nurse unsafe staffing figures genuinely alarming.

Media coverage of our Day of Action

Photos from our Day of Action

See more photos and videos on the NZNO Facebook page.



Why we're taking action

Our health system is in crisis, and not all New Zealanders receive fair and equal care. There is a chronic shortage of at least 4000 nurses that is contributing to a blow out in wait times in GPs and EDs and is compromising the quality of patient care. A lack of Māori and Pacific nurses, especially in Primary Care, is contributing to Māori and Pasifika experiencing far worse health outcomes than other New Zealanders. The Government’s goals of patients being seen faster and delivering better cancer care can’t be achieved without more nurses. 

Every year thousands of nurses leave the profession, with understaffing leading to burnout and stress as well as the decision to leave the country. New Zealand nurses are leaving for Australia where safe nursing ratios have been common for years and pay is better.  

We can fix this. Where nurse-to-patient ratios have been introduced internationally the quality of health care patients received has improved.

Most states in Australia as well as California, British Columbia, Ireland and Wales now have fixed nurse ratios to improve the quality of health care. The evidence shows that more nurses and safe ratios save lives. Since being introduced in Australia nearly 10 years ago they’ve resulted in fewer readmission and shorter hospital stays, resulting in better patient outcomes and tens of millions being saved in the health budget. 

It’s simple, ratios allow nurses to provide the level of care they want and patients need. But New Zealand nurses are flocking to Australia for their less stressful and better resourced working environment and we need to match their ratios here. We can retain nurses here, and attract people back to the profession if we address the chronic shortages we currently face.More nurses mean better health outcomes and it saves the health system money. It’s win win and needs to be a top priority for the Government.  

Nurses, midwives, health care assistants and kaiāwhina hauora right across Aotearoa are standing up for patients and better care.

We're calling on the Government to:

  • Commit to culturally appropriate nurse-to-patient and midwife-to-patient ratios in all health care settings.  
  • In Budget 2024 to put more money into health to fund increased nurses, midwives, health care assistants and health workers. 

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