Ratio Justice Bus Tour 10-21 June


We need the Government to increase health funding and implement culturally appropriate nurse-to-patient and midwife-to-patient ratios in all health care settings. From 10-21 June we took this message across Aotearoa on the Ratio Justice Bus Tour. 


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Ratio Justice Bus Tour 10-20 June

Over two weeks, three buses traveled across Aotearoa as part of our Ratio Justice Bus Tour. We held rallies and informational pickets and met with members of the community, Mayors and MPs right across the country. Scroll down to see photos or visit our Facebook page.  

  • In the upper North Island we visited Whangārei, Kawakawa, Kerikeri, Waipapa, Kaitāia and Kaikohe, Hamilton, Tauranga, Rotorua, Whakatāne and Gisborne.
  • In the lower North Island we visited Palmerston North, Dannevirke, Waipukurau, Hastings, Napier, Levin, Whanganui, Hāwera and New Plymouth.
  • In the South Island we visited Nelson, Blenheim, Kaikōura, Christchurch, Dunedin, Gore, Balclutha and Invercargill.

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Why we're taking action

Health needs more funding

  • In Budget 2024 the bulk of health funding that was announced is committed to meeting cost pressure funding. This means there is limited funding for new initiatives in health and nothing concrete announced for nurses, midwives and health care assistants.
  • Our hospitals, aged care, primary care and Māori health services run on the assumption of an understaffed, overworked and burnt out workforce. This needs to change.
  • Census 2023 data revealed that Aotearoa’s Māori population has grown to nearly one million people, or one in five New Zealanders. Budget 2024 provides $749 million for Te Whatu Ora Health NZ to deliver Hauora Māori services. The 2023/24 spend was $704.106 million, indicated a 6% increase. While this is welcome it is not backed up by a clear strategy for Māori health services in the absence of Te Aka Whai Ora. This makes up 3% of the total health budget, to service 20% of the population.

We need nurse-to-patient and midwife-to-patient ratios

  • Most states in Australia as well as California, British Columbia, Ireland and Wales now have fixed nurse-to-patient ratios to improve the quality of health care.
  • Since being introduced in Australia nearly ten 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.
  • When New Zealand nurses flock to Australia it’s for their less stressful and better resourced working environment. To keep nurses we need to match their ratios here.
  • Where ratios have been introduced nurses who left the profession came back to nursing. That’s because they address chronic shortages faced by nurses and health workers.

We need culturally-appropriate ratios

  • While we can look to international examples we need to work out for ourselves how ratios will be work in Aotearoa.
  • There are many justice issues bound up with ratios. There is more to ratios than just the number of nurses required to meet patient need. This is important, but it is also a matter of justice to the patient who has the right to the best of care. Further, it is a matter of justice and a Tiriti obligation that patients receive care that is culturally appropriate for them.
  • Appropriate skills mix is also a matter of justice, to the patient obviously because the nursing expertise they require needs to be available, but also because it is unjust (and potentially dangerous or career threatening) when workers are pressured into acting in roles in which they do not have qualifications or experience. An example of this may be understaffing creating pressure on health care assistants to perform duties normally reserved for nurses who are more highly trained.

Photos from the Ratio Justice Bus Tour 10-21 June

Whangārei, Kawakawa, Kerikeri, Waipapa, Kaitāia and Kaikohe






Hawkes Bay



Palmerston North







Balclutha and Gore




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