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Getting by with a little help from our friends

Anne Daniels, President
NZNO Tōpūtanga Tapuhi Kaitiaki o Aotearoa

Last week I attended an amazing concert that abounded with local talent covering Beatles songs, and one in particular was about “getting a little help from our friends.” That very much made me think about the NZNO rallies coming up on our 15 April Day of Action.

Some say a problem shared is a problem halved. It is about deciding to reach out and recognising who to reach out to. Te Whatu Ora has an overarching goal of “creating an equitable, integrated and sustainable health service with “a shift of emphasis towards primary and community care allowing more people to be cared for close to home and take a greater role in their own health and wellbeing.”

A shift towards primary and community care requires resourcing in both the public and funded sector. That means supporting more nurses, community midwives, care workers, kaiāwhina etc to work in the sector. Right now, however there are massive shortages of nurses and other health care workers everywhere. And you know that we are undervalued, underpaid, unsupported to do our work safely. Care must also be culturally safe to meet the needs of those who need it most.

So why are most of our health dollars going to cure? Social determinants of health account for 30-55 percent of health outcomes and even more when looking at population health outcomes. Social determinants of health are non-medical factors that influence health outcomes (economic, social, political policy, education, unemployment, working/life conditions, food insecurity, housing, and many more).

Addressing the social determinants of health is fundamental to improving health, preventing illness and reducing inequities. It requires everyone to get involved, and we need every nurse, everywhere to make this happen.

Each one of us (more than 56,000 members), our whānau, friends, neighbours, groups, communities, and regions need to stand together and demand that the emphasis and resourcing of the medical model of health is shifted to eliminate the factors that contribute to ill health. Long-term, this will reduce the demand on the hospitals, reduce costs and improve everyone’s health and wellbeing.

On 15 April NZNO is having a Day of Action. Members have a real opportunity to encourage our nation to stand together and make those demands. All around the country we will have marches, rallies with fun activities and kai, and a few speeches to tell our Government, our public servants, and what we want from them. We will also be launch a petition calling on political parties to commit to NZNO’s fixes for the health system And we want that petition to be massive!

We need a little help from you and your friends to make health (not illness) a top priority in the coming election. Maranga Mai! asks that every member, everywhere participates. Join us for an hour or two. Bring the kids, the family, the neighbours and make a collective stand for health.

Contact your groups and ask if you can advertise the Day of Action through your networks. Put up posters, txt/email your colleagues and invite them to stand with us. Lets’ show the power of the many, rising up together, and be part of the change we want to see.

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Are we part of our own demise?

Kerri Nuku, Kaewhakahaere
Tōpūtanga Tapuhi Kaitiaki o Aotearoa NZNO

This week we marked International Women’s Day and the achievements of women seeking gender equality and a future where your gender is not a hindrance or an obstacle.

Aotearoa has had its own share of sheroes. Perhaps the most well documented are the women from suffrage movement in the late 1800s whose actions led to a landmark legislation that saw New Zealand became the first self-governing country in the world in which women had the right to vote.

The campaigners led by Kate Sheppard were extraordinary for their times. Her feminist acts have been immortalised on our $10 bank note, commemorative stamps, and the statue in the heart of Wellington, inspiring both young and old.

Meri Te Tai Mangakāhia, also an eminent campaigner and landowner, was the first woman to stand for the Māori Parliament, for the rights for women to vote and as a member of Parliament. She is noted for her contribution to Māori.

These women were not alone in their struggles. From the suffrage movement of the 1800s to Ihumatao and even our own fight for Pay Equity, these are still features of today. Strength, resilience and tenacity are the ingredients required to counter the stereotypes, racism, violence, misogyny, and discrimination that women continue to face while driving the equality agenda.

I have often personally struggled when someone calls themselves a feminist. Meri Te Tai Mangakāhia is not noted in history as being feminist, but she was a wahine toa. The language used to describe her mana is often minimised in comparison to others of the suffrage movement. So, feminism isn’t the act of burning the bra or how much or how little makeup, jewellery or the type of clothes you wear; it’s a reflection of the decisions, actions and choices you make to advocate against all resistance for the rights of women.

As a predominately female organisation and profession our own fights continue. While the attacks from politicians may not be as overt as the attacks against Pania Newton at Ihumato, the inaction and ignorance are just as brutal.

I wondered what we can learn from the history of the suffrage movement, the history of our wahine, to inform our future. Could the language I use be holding us back? As a profession I often draw the distinction between nurse and nursing, the role of the nurse is very well defined and articulated by the profession, but what of nursing? Doctors don’t talk of doctoring neither do any of the other health professional groups, so could the fact that the word nursing is used so commonly be contributing to one of our concerns around promoting the skilled role that nurses do.

A mother who breastfeeds is often referred to as nursing her baby, a sick person can be nursed at home, the use of nurse and nursing can be undertaken by people who may never have had any formal training.

We also talk about being “at the table” or being “invited to the table where the decisions are made”. This adopts a subservient approach, needing or seeking affirmation as opposed to doing as the pioneers continue to do, build strength and unity and have courage to stand on our own platforms. The coming National Day of Action on 15 April is our opportunity to do that!

I want to finish by acknowledging Georgina Beyer, her undeniable belief in herself, her strength and resilience, and who achieved so much and inspired many. She was, a member of Parliament who supported progressive policies including the prostitution law reforms, civil unions and anti-discrimination laws, as well as being an elected mayor.

Mate kotahitanga e whai kaha ai tātou.
In unity we have strength.

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Cleaning out the cupboards

President Anne Daniels
NZNO Tōpūtanga Tapuhi Kaitiaki o Aotearoa

One of my first comments in Kaitaiki as President briefly looked at beginnings. Beginnings suggest there may be an end. It seems that organisations such as ours (NZNO), have natural life cycles. First there is a vision that becomes a reality or start-up when the organisation is formally founded. Next comes growth, followed by sustainability and relevance.

The last stage of an organisation is characterised by stagnation and renewal. It could be argued that NZNO has been at this stage. Our current organisation was founded when nursing was a very different profession than it is today. It reminds me of that feeling you get in spring and decide to clean out the cupboards and start afresh.

Thirty years ago (1 April 1993) NZNO was formed. The amalgamation of the Nurses’ Association and union was an attempt to reduce the dilution of our nursing voice. Disparate voices within our profession have allowed others to fill the void and speak for us in the past. Over the years NZNO work focused largely on beneficial change for its members within a health system structure imposed, dominated, and controlled by others.

Today we must ask ourselves where we need to go as a union from here on in. If we hang on to the old ways of being, and do not clean out our cupboards by challenging the status quo within and without, we will become less relevant as an influential professional group in the health care discourses that will shape our future.

I would like to ask members whether they believe that our current infrastructure, systems, policies, and processes are fit for purpose. For some time now, members representing different sectors of NZNO, have been calling for change. What that change might look like is another question but this all poses an opportunity to look forward. How we make it happen is yet another question.

What I do know is that we need leadership to grow at our grassroots i.e. within our membership. That leadership must also be insightful, able to learn from our past and present so they can be owners of nursing and the role we take, in shaping our health system. Our current health system is not fit for purpose as it is not delivering health care which meets the needs of our indigenous and diverse nation, it remains medical-model-centric, and is a long way from eliminating the social determinant inequities that lead to poor health for many.

Change and real leadership go hand-in-hand. Our current and future leadership must be inclusive, collaborative, consistent in demonstrating tino rangitatiratanga from the start and going forward so we can build a new vision for the future of nursing in Aotearoa/New Zealand. Our union can bring that vision to fruition if we have the will and commitment to do so.

Perhaps we need to think about how we grow our leaders, and develop clear pathways to succession planning (identification, development, and engagement of future leaders)? Where does ‘membership led’ fit into all of this, what does it really mean, and what does it look like?

These questions must be discussed, debated and decided. Above all, NZNO must have a compelling purpose and engage in the mahi that is meaningful and beneficial to our members and those we care for.

A wise woman (Frances Haugen) said not so long ago, “we solve problems together: we don’t solve them alone (Perrigo, 2021). The union is us. Being a member of our union means that every one of us must participate in these conversations and move forward together.

Christiaens, G. (2016). Current issues in Nursing Associations in Policy and Politics in Nursing and Health Care. (Editors: Mason, Gardner, Outlaw, & O’Grady.)

Perrigo, B. (2021). The making of a whistleblower. The Listener, December 6/December 13.

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Grass is only greener where you water it

Kerri Nuku, Kaiwhakahaere
NZNO, Tōpūtanga Tapuhi Kaitiaki o Aotearoa

The grass is always greener on the other side (of the fence). In terms of Australia there is red dirt, heat, sand and surf. The slang is different, and Australian wildlife is something you can’t compare.

A nurse friend of mine recently returned from working on a short-term contract in Australia. When she first talked about going, the prospect of her leaving seemed far-fetched. I thought the “red tape” would be cumbersome and would surely cause delays. I was confident we could get in a few more lunches or as we refer to it: “space to catch our breath and talk”.

However, it was barely a week later when she confirmed that her tickets were booked, accommodation arranged, and she was off on her overseas experience. The process did not seem complicated at all.

Sitting there listening to her kōrero, I wait for her to catch her breath. I hear of all her experiences, new friends, colleagues and a healthier bank balance with a desire to return and do more.
This nurse has always been the warrior who would operate in stealth mode, doing what needs to be done, actioning things you won’t find in standing orders – and all done in stealth mode.

Nurses are often the people other health professionals take for granted. We personify the so-called “it takes a special kind to do the job”. Nursing requires more of the individual – and so we inherently bring more to the sector. Yet we don’t think about it; we do it because we can and therefore, we’re not valued for the evolved responsibilities.

The value of nursing continues to be challenged. In 2020 the International Council of Nurses theme: “The year of the nurse and midwife” was for the first time intended to profile the role of nurses, to showcase the invaluable asset of nursing while investigating the wealth of validity and expansion of the profession. But the pandemic dominated what should have been our time. Instead, every media outlet made like a virus, replicating the spread and destruction of Covid-19. Still the nurses went to war and did what they do best, silently dealing with the carnage, every now and again raising their voices only to be ignored.

So is it any wonder our nurses are leaving for other shores to experience new opportunities, to feel valued in their chosen area of expertise? We have to ask what it is going to take to abate the flow.

This whakataukī focuses on the importance of nurturing what matters to us. It’s about taking care of the things we hold dear to us so that they can thrive. If something in your life is not thriving, consider that you might not be giving it enough time, focus or attention.

The grass is only greener where you water it.

Kite kore ngā pūtake e makūkūngia e kore te rākau e tupu.
If the roots of the tree are not watered, the tree will never grow.

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Anne Daniels, President
NZNO, Tōpūtanga Tapuhi Kaitiaki o Aotearoa

Kaiwhakahaere Kerri Nuku’s last blog (23 December 2022) includes a quote…“We have come too far not to go further, we have done too much not to more.” – Sir James Henare.

These words reflect the many challenges we (NZNO) are grappling with, right now. NZNO (members and staff) is invested in meeting members’ expectations around Pay Equity, Pay Parity, eliminating exploitation of a female dominated profession and securing a culturally safe work environment across the health care system.

Many of these campaigns started years ago, and some, such as the Pay Equity campaign, are tantalising close to becoming a reality. But we remain uncertain about the future. However, we can and must increase the likelihood of success through collective planning and action. As the election looms, NZNO members must decide what their priorities are in terms of our union and nursing as a profession. Why? There is no certainty that whoever wins the election will understand our needs or have them at heart unless we work together to influence what will be best for us and those we care for.

Now is the time to actively work in engaging every member to become informed about our priorities so that we can make sure every vote will count. Our large membership of more than 56,000 has the potential to make nursing and health key to influencing both our members and the public at large.

To do that every member, everywhere needs to be informed on the positions of the various political parties and every member everywhere must vote. Our current infrastructure of members, delegates, regional councils, Colleges, Sections, Te Rūnanga and many other specialty groups, working with NZNO staff, can make this happen, by working collectively.

Our priorities are clearly laid out in Maranga Mai! We cannot be certain we will have a Government willing to commit to NZNO’s priorities unless we make it clear that our votes will go where our interests lie. We must Rise Up and lead the debate about what is important for voters whilst making our politicians accountable for their positions on health and nursing.

Last year NZNO engaged a Director of Organising and experienced campaigners to support NZNO members everywhere to engage in the political process. Why? To challenge those in power to do right by us and the health and wellbeing of our nation.

Each one of us has a responsibility to understand the issues, know which politicians and political parties will commit to our Maranga Mai! priorities, and vote. More than that, we must all have conversations with our friends and family about the issues.

Currently New Zealand’s population is more than 5 million. That means there is approximately one NZNO member per 92 people living in New Zealand. Conversations with our families and friends have the potential to create a ripple effect. Our union is well positioned to influence the outcome of the election, but only if every one of us gets involved.

We must do this. Let’s make the uncertain, certain.

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We have done too much not to do more

Kerri Nuku, Kaiwhakahaere
Tōpūtanga Tapuhi Kaitiaki o Aotearoa NZNO

I was fortunate enough to have caught up with a couple of nursing whānau and my kuia recently.  Dedicated to her work, the kuia has reduced her hours now, after all she is 79 years young.

As we sat down to for a chat, her concerns for the future were marked not only with the words she spoke but the tiredness in her eyes and anguish on her face. Nan has been an advocate and at the centre of many political actions in her times, including being the mediator between the whānau and hospital with our now infamous Hawke’s Bay child uplift case.

Her mokopuna who live with her are “an absolute joy” and, together with work they keep her going. But her fears for the future, especially herald a warning that poverty, social challenges and complexities are complicating health. We need to think differently to respond to the changing health demands, she cautioned.

Nan has walked through many changes to the health sector, but this time it’s different – her concerns are for the mokopuna and their future.

She is not alone in her views. The media is speculating a difficult year ahead, and there is no doubt that the unrelenting social, economic and political pressures are making it difficult to find the rainbow or look for the silver lining as the unpredictability of our economic future hangs in the balance.

This gave me more cause to reflect on my responsibilities as a mother, grandmother and worker, and our contributions as the largest female dominated union and professional organisation in Aotearoa to her story and what must be different as we approach the year ahead.

Our organisation has held the view of political neutrality and in the past, we have gone to great lengths to ensure nonpartisanism. Our history, including the New Zealand Trained Nurses Association, New Zealand Nurses Association (NZNA) and our organisation as we are known today NZNO Toputanga Tapuhi Kaitiaki o Aotearoa. Professional, social, economic and industrial interests of nurses are the common purpose across our evolution, but our history highlights our struggles between industrial and professional identity within a female dominated workforce and our strength and political awareness.

We have a rich history of active protection, but perhaps one of our most defining moments was in 1973, when Margaret Bazley (who would go on to be the first female State Services Commissioner and receive the Order of New Zealand) declared that “the days of exploitation are over… If our tradition of serving patients is to be maintained, then the welfare of our nurses must be put first and foremost by the association”. By 1986 nurses’ protests over conditions and wages – the greatest distress cry of nursing in this country – caused the association a few years later to give strike notice as part of a successful “Nurses are worth more” campaign.

However, it would take almost 30 years before the country would see further strike action of that size, but it came frustratingly after almost 10 years of government underfunding of DHBs for us to act.

This year we have had further strikes and issued more provisional improvement notices than ever before. Each one, regardless of size, builds on the collective voice of the last and sends the consistent message. While we have been successful over several areas, claims in the Waitangi Tribunal, Pay Equity although still to be resolved we have stood resolute in our challenge: Pay Parity, expansion to include fast track to residency, inclusion on the workforce taskforce and expanding role of enrolled nurses. We have not won the war for every nurse everywhere; we still have work to do.

Whatever our position is next year, there is no doubt that we must ensure health is one of the election priorities. We must be effective in raising and using our collective power, raising our political voice and making our presence felt.

“He tawhiti kē to tātou haerenga ki te kore e haere tonu, he tino nui rawa ta tātou mahi ki te kore e mahi tonu – We have come too far not to go further, we have done too much not to do more”. Sir James Henare

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Feeling the fear and doing it anyway

Anne Daniels, President
NZNO, Tōpūtanga Tapuhi Kaitiaki o Aotearoa

“Nothing is too difficult to achieve. Only (fear) and apathy can defeat us.” – Sonja Davies.

Fear and apathy are the biggest threats to the health of our nation and our (regulated and unregulated) nurses’ ability to provide safe care through eliminating nursing shortages.

History shows we cannot rely on a government of employers to do right by us. Accountability to the public and professional health and safety through nurse/patient ratio regulation is a no brainer. We are the UNION. It is up to us, every NZNO member, to make this happen.

Fear is holding us back. Gender norms have contributed to a culture of deference to authority, self-depreciation, and overt oppression – strategies that devalue us, erode our self-esteem and belief in ourselves. Many of our members are afraid of losing their jobs if they get involved in political action or speak out. However, if you saw something happening that was causing your patient to be harmed, would you stand by and let it happen? I don’t think so. But when it comes to us, and the health and wellbeing of our nation, most of us are silent and inactive.

Very recently it was noted that some Te Whatu Ora nurse job descriptions had a new addition. And I quote: “Resilience/Flexibility”.

“This articulates differing perspectives on a problem and will see the merit of alternative points of view. It will change or modify own opinions and will utilise alternative strategies when necessary. This adjusts behaviour to the demands of the work environment to remain productive through periods of transition, ambiguity, uncertainty and stress.”

This requirement for new employees risks being in conflict with our human rights, the Health Practitioners Assurance Act, the Health and Safety at Work Act and the Nursing Council competency standards of practice. We are required to speak out and act when unsafe practice environments put our patients and ourselves at risk. Every one of us must get involved in our strategic Maranga Mai! campaign to eliminate this kind of overt oppression.

What must WE do about it.

  1. Turn our fears into value-based opportunities. What do you care about enough to stand up and act?
  2. Problem solve – we do that all day long at work. Name and reframe the problem. Work with your colleagues to find and implement a solution. Evaluate and engage in a continuous cycle of improvement to increase effectiveness. Be open to change. Think MARANGA MAI! strategy. Act collectively/inclusively, in different ways, starting with te Tiriti o Waitangi.
  3. How? Empowerment through education to prepare ourselves, and our future nurses, with the skills they need to make change happen: leadership, political, advocacy, activism. NZNO staff can and will support our members to become activists through our delegate, regional council, health and safety, college and section infrastructure, etc.

Get involved. Be part of the solution not the problem. The time is NOW!

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Power, politics, and money

Kerri Nuku, Kaiwhakahaere,
Tōpūtanga Tapuhi Kaitiaki o Aotearoa NZNO

It’s difficult to know where to start when writing this blog because there is just so much happening keeping us on the edge of our seats. Internationally we have held our breath as we have watched political tensions escalate over land, power and possessions amid the backdrop of the increasing humanitarian crises and increasing numbers of refugees and displaced communities due to war, famine, natural disasters and climate change.

Back home, the increasing cost of living, exorbitant rent prices, increasing rates and mortgage inflationary costs for those lucky enough to afford the deposit for a house, adds to our burden of economic hardship. The problem with this hardship is that these features are increasingly common among us working class folk. For many of my friends and whanau, what once may have been left over from their salary or wages once all the bills are paid is no longer there. “It’s hard to stretch the purse strings any more …that broke long ago.”

As the political tensions start to warm up towards the next elections, power, politics, and money and their order of arrangement will be what makes the difference for many of us. There are already clear signs that Māori will again become political fodder, through divisive action intent on winning votes at the cost of commitment to Te Tiriti o Waitangi. 

Without even trying to address the obvious issues in the health sector let alone the issues for nurses and all health care workers and all working-class people, I can’t help but wonder what the future for the nursing profession will look like. 

Over the years and as early as the 1889 women have been calling for better pay and working conditions. We have well documented evidence of the ignorance and inaction of governments over the centuries to take affirmative action to do anything meaningful and sustainable to ensure working conditions and pay for nurses and health care workers.

Our Pay Equity celebrations earlier this year have been short-lived as we find ourselves in Employment Court seeking a determination and direction. Again, we are reminded that we don’t hold power. While Pay Equity may have been an attempt to address gender discrimination, it has not gone far enough to change attitudes, behaviour and practice. As a predominantly female workforce we still have some way to go to make sustained change. Mindful of course that these rates are not available to nurses outside of Te Whatu Ora services.

COVID-19 exposed an already fragile health system, eroded by successive governments lack of investment in terms of facility appropriateness, models of care, human resources for health, working conditions and responsiveness to the community in which we serve. These cracks were laid bare due to the sheer size, scale and speed of the pandemic on our system health system which could not withstand the sustained impact. 

We continue to raise the relenting issues of working conditions and pay, especially in response to the “impact of COVID”, however now given the nursing workforce shortage nationally and internationally we will need to consider the development of our workforce. At the latest Manatu Hauora Hui, the gathering of health care workers, was an initial discuss to collectively look at work a future workforce may look like, an opportunity to start for redesigning considering newly established Te Whatu Ora and Te Aka Whai Ora and stand up of the Iwi Māori Partnership Boards. It looks to advance opportunities for healthcare workers, Kaimahi and Kai awhina workforce, potential changes to learning opportunities and credentialing, nursing council is currently working on changes to the Enrolled Nurses Scope and design, but until these groups are involved in any consultation of about them – we will continue to be done too.

I hear constantly our workforce is tired, burnt-out, frustrated and angry, but what we do together will determine what happens tomorrow.

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Why is it surprising that women are so effective?

Anne Daniels, President
NZNO Tōpūtanga Tapuhi Kaitiaki o Aotearoa

Why is it surprising that women are so effective?

This question was posed by a Black Fern following an incredible win over France in the recent Women’s Rugby World Cup semifinal.

Why was the media so surprised? They worked hard, strategised and played like a real team. Similarly, NZNO members (who are mostly women) are more than capable of doing anything they put their minds to, particularly when they stand together in solidarity and focus on winning – which is exactly the point of the Maranga Mai! campaign.

Throughout history women have made things work and found a way forward. Just recently I was asked if the unsafe working conditions, nurse shortages, and increasing numbers of PINs amounted to the new normal. We simply cannot allow that to be so because that would mean accepting ongoing avoidable harm to our patients and ourselves.

The new normal must be one that sees nurses and all our members being valued, appreciated, and equitably paid. We must be able to enjoy our work, reach our full potential, and act as advocates and activists to enable our future nurses to reach theirs.

Right now, however, it seems the gods are against us; particularly when the ERA adjudicator in our Pay Equity case caught COVID, causing delay. I felt for her. I hope she recovers well. Her decisions will have a historic impact for all women who live and work in Aotearoa New Zealand.

Leading up to this ERA process, our members made a strong collective challenge to the Government and Te Whatu Ora decisions that would have disenfranchised a female dominated workforce – again. In the meantime, we have sent a strong message regarding the disrespectful, unfair and inequitable winter payments in a context where unsafe nursing workload outcomes are having a direct and negative impact on our patients.

In addition, NZNO members have gone on strike for fair pay and safe work conditions in Primary Health Care and in private hospitals. While these actions have been communicated to all members, these actions were mostly standalone. It is time for all of us to demonstrate real solidarity in a day of national action. What that might look like is up to our members. Our members are NZNO and NZNO is us.

NZNO members go to work each day and attempt to beat odds not of our making. To stand up in solidarity, we must find ways forward that effectively engage with every member, everywhere, AND every member, everywhere must follow through with real action.

Our Power is in our membership, 56,000 now and counting. Every one of us has a family, friends, community contacts. Imagine what a message it would send to our Government and our employers if we all rose up in solidarity. Together, we will stand, and we will leave no-one behind.

Like the Black Ferns, we can Maranga Mai! – Rise up and stand against the odds. We must be a force to be reckoned with. Let’s surprise them.

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Our voices grow louder

Kerri Nuku, Kaiwhakahaere
Tōpūtanga Tapuhi Kaitiaki o Aotearoa NZNO

An aura of solidarity filled the air as more than 4200 of our members embraced the Maranga Mai! spirit in demanding employers bring their salaries up to par with our colleagues at Te Whatu Ora.

Plunket nurses hit the streets for the first time in decades on Thursday to voice their frustrations together with more than 3500 of their Primary Health Care MECA comrades.

After yesterday’s strikes, last week’s action by nurses from three private hospitals, and our Te Whatu Ora members refusal to work additional shifts three weeks ago, our message is now being delivered louder and clearer than ever.

Although we saw united action across the motu and for many of these nurses, they had taken affirmative action and joined in the ground swell. The vibe was palpable, the support and solidarity from other areas of the medical profession, emergency services and public amazing.

The action effect and optic must go past a few hours of action because the issue we face a historical and deeply entrenched. We must brush off the image that nurses and health care workers are complacent, we must dispel the myth that nurses are in silos across the health system, we need to all come together for the health and safety of not only our communities but for our workforce.

The issue at heart is Pay Parity for Primary Health Care, Plunket and Māori and iwi providers, it continues to be unfair and unjust that the same qualification and NCNZ requirement expected of both nurses that work within Te Whatu Ora and the funded sector should be allowed to be paid differently. Māori and iwi providers have been challenging successive governments for more than 14 years to address this Pay Parity gap and has gone so far as to take legal action against the Crown for continual breaches of unfairness.

Collective action is what is required to make change and we must continue to build member power and challenge unfairness and inequities for all nurses and health care workers in the future. We must raise our voices to the Government so loudly that the sound of nurses is deafening, we can’t be silent anymore. The Government cannot afford turn a deaf ear to our cries much longer or continue to plant their heads in the sand. We have had our fill and we will no longer put up with it. Our voices grow louder, will be heard and we will succeed!