Nurses know more than anyone about the health crisis, and they know what we need to do to fix it.

Let’s have a look and see which political party will deliver for the nurse we need on October 14.

  • Increased the per capita investment in the health system by almost 50% since 2017. A big part of that extra investment has been increasing the pay of the health workforce.
  • Adding 830 additional clinical placements for nursing students to increase the number of nurses training by 10%.
  • Funded pay equity settlements for Te Whatu Ora nurses and midwives and increased funding to reduce pay disparity for nurses and health workers in primary health, aged care and Pacific and iwi health providers.

"Labour party has historically done some positive things to support the healthcare workforce. I wonder if they will continue this trend or if they think they have done enough and will change their priorities?" Anita, RN

"Will Labour commit to equity for those nurses who work for Iwi and Māori providers. Ten years ago the gap was 25% difference between nurses who work in Hospital and nurses who work for Iwi and Māori Providers in their communities. The gap has grown somewhat since then." Keelan, Te Poari

Hospital nurses have won significant pay increases through collective bargaining and pay equity wins in recent years. Between 2017 and 2023, hospital nurses pay has increased by 49% on average. That's an 8.2% average increase per year. Labour has increased funding for nurses outside Te Whatu Ora to help close the pay gap because we know that a nurse is a nurse wherever they choose to practice. There's a lot more work to do to ensure nurses are valued across the health system with both pay and conditions, however, these policies and funding lifts are a move in the right direction. We need to see Labour commit to full pay parity for nurses and implementing staffing ratios to ensure safe workloads and better patient care.

Dr Ayesha Verrall: "We know the most effective way to grow our nursing workforce is to pay our nurses fairly. And that is what this Government is committed to."

  • Bonded student loan repayments for nurses and midwives up to a total of $4,500 a year for the first five years of their career, provided they remain working in their profession in New Zealand.
  • Establish a relocation support scheme, offering up to 1000 qualified overseas nurses and midwives relocation grants worth up to $10,000 each to support their move to New Zealand and allow qualified overseas nurses and midwives to come here on a six-month temporary visa without a job offer to look for work.
  • Disestablish Te Aka Whai Ora

"Not sure how helpful a repayment bonding system is going to be to help nursing students survive their training. The 5-year concept smacks of a female dominated profession hangover, what other professions would expect their young people to delay travel and expand their knowledge professionally by 5 years?" Dawn, RN

"Why does National continue to ignore pay parity for nurses who work for Iwi and Māori providers? When National was in opposition in 2008 they said they would support equity for Māori nurses working for Iwi and Māori providers. National took over after the 2008 elections and did nothing for Māori nurses working for their iwi or Māori providers during that whole time they were in power. Why would I choose to support this party?" Keelan, Te Poari

National's track history in health spending saw funding decline in real terms and puts future pay equity settlements for nurses and health workers at risk. Under the last National government, between 2008 and 2017 hospital nurses' pay rates increased by only 15.4% over 9 years. That's a 1.7% average increase per year. National has promised annual increases in frontline spending in health to match inflation but has not made any commitments to ensuring pay lifts that value all nurses and health workers. What attracts people, overseas and at home, to work in Aotearoa is decent pay and working conditions to keep them in the job. We need explicit commitments that National will fund health workers' pay and guarantee safe staffing.

Dr Shane Reti: "National knows that workforce is one of the main issues facing the sector and we have a plan to deliver more nurses and midwives by paying student loan repayments if they enter a bonding agreement of five years, and make New Zealand a more attractive destination for international nurses"

  • Ensure all healthcare workers have fair wages, and workload and conditions that support their wellbeing and the quality of care of their patients.
  • Support students with a universal payment of $385 a week, including at postgraduate level, and ensure courses that require work placements pay students at least the living wage.
  • Empower and resource the Te Aka Whai Ora to work in an equal partnership together with the Ministry of Health and Te Whatu Ora to improve outcomes for whānau, hapū, iwi and hapori.

"I have appreciated the support form several Green MPs who have stood beside the nurses at our rallies and spoken up in the House advocating for health workers and improving our health system. Their policies are consistent with fairness, equity and wellbeing for all." Helen, RN

"I commend the Greens having committed themselves to supporting Māori nurses who work for Iwi and Māori providers in communities and whānau around Aotearoa." Keelan, Te Poari

The Green Party is recognising the critical work that nurses do and committing to support the workforce so they are no longer underpaid, overworked, and undervalued. Around 1/3 of nursing students are dropping out before completing their training because of financial hardship and stress. Funded training and earn as you learn schemes will help support current and future nursing students to finish their qualifications and start on the job. These policies will ensure the nursing workforce pipeline is supporting nurses in terms of pay, staffing and wellbeing across their whole careers, from students through to clinical practice across the entire health system, including Māori workers who provide essential care for whānau, hapū and iwi.

Ricardo Menéndez March: "We will meet union demands for fair wages, pay parity, a reasonable workload, and conditions that support the wellbeing of nurses and their patients"

  • Health workforce planning and forecasting focussed on innovation
  • Disestablish Te Aka Whai Ora (and all other ‘demographic’ Ministries including the Ministry for Women and Ministry for Pacific Peoples).
  • Give the Minister of Health the power to override a regulatory authority’s (such as Nursing Council) decisions or processes.
  • Enabling new models of care by enabling physician assistants (an unregulated role that requires establishing a new regulatory body to practice) to take on more responsibilities.

"Absolutely do not agree with the concept of downskilling and using non-regulated operators - no one expects an unregulated lawyer, so why a doctor or nurse." Debbie, RN

"How could Māori nurses support the ACT party who does not acknowledge Cultural Competencies. This is the foundation for all nurses who will come across our whānau, our kuia, our koroua and our tamariki. Without this how can we even pretend that health stats for Māori will improve when our culture is not taken into account. How can we trust that ACT care about our people because their policy does not show they do." Keelan, Te Poari

ACT's attempts to solve the health workforce crisis look like throwing more weight behind immigration without growing our domestic workforce. Policies to import new roles of health workers and override Nursing Council to push for training Enrolled Nurses who can't do the work of the 4000 Registered Nurses we need leads to deskilling our nursing profession and will reduce the quality of public healthcare. ACT is opposed to gender pay gap reporting and the principles of pay equity which puts at risk the pay equity settlements that health workers deserve to remedy historical gender discrimination.

David Seymour: "It’s impossible to prove that someone with the same experience and qualifications is worth the same. Some people just work harder and businesses know who these people [are]. "

  • Invest $1 billion per annum in Health Workforce Development to train more doctors, nurses and nurse practitioners and a greater emphasis on recruiting medical professionals from offshore.
  • Increase funding for Te Aka Whai Ora with 25% of all Health funding to be transferred to and administered by the Māori Health Authority.
  • Establish a Māori health card and a comprehensive Kaupapa Māori Health service

"Positive policies that if implemented, would finally see Aotearoa with a fully functioning, top quality health system that benefits all people. Kia Kaha!" Helen, RN

"Love the determination of the Māori Party to improve working conditions and pay for Māori nurses and health for Māori across the country. Te Aka Whai Ora has been in control for two years the others have had 150 years to get it right. I support the 25% increase of funding. I love their approach: To Māori, By Māori, For Māori." Keelan, Te Poari

Te Pāti Māori understand that Aotearoa has a health workforce crisis and that we will not be able to train and recruit the nurses we need without significant investment. These funding commitments will see an increase in training, improved staffing levels and funding available for meaningful paylifts for nurses. Properly resourcing Te Aka Whai Ora will prioritise Māori Health, ensure culturally appropriate care is available by moving to a To Māori, by Māori, for Māori approach.

Debbie Ngarewa-Packer "We're committed to a by Māori, for Māori, to Māori approach and our investment in Māori health reflects this."

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