NZNO's Blog

An open letter to New Zealand voters.


blog banner open letterPictured- NZNO members and Registered Nurses Phoenix and Michael.


This year, we are asking for your help.

This isn’t something people working in healthcare would normally do – it’s usually the other way around. We help you in your time of need – in your hospitals, your Plunket office, your home, your marae and in your community. We love our skilled work, and turning your worst day into a better day. When you are sick, injured or in need of support, you can turn to us for healing, comfort and safety. We help no matter who you are, where you come from, how much you earn or where you live. Knowing we can help is what drives us to work in health.

Right now it’s getting harder to do the work that we trained for. We want the best for everyone who comes into our care, but health underfunding means that sometimes we’re not able to give you the best. We are often short staffed, rushed, and need a little more time to give you care. We are sad sometimes because of what we couldn’t do for your tamariki, your grandparents or your neighbour. Many of you are feeling frustrated by delays in getting the healthcare you deserve and expect. We are frustrated too.

Together, we can fix this. If health was funded sustainably now and into the future we could improve that service for every New Zealander. We can have a health system where every patient knows that when they need care, they will see the right health professional, with the right skill, in the right place, at the right time. This is the proud tradition of our country.

It is election year. Who you vote for is your personal choice, but we are asking you to use your vote to help us give you and your loved ones the best care. Make sure you are enrolled to vote now, and that the people you know are enrolled . Check out which political parties are committed to increasing health funding. Pay close attention to what they say about resourcing us to give you quality care.

We are asking you to make health funding your first priority this election. Talk to your friends and family about voting for health. Without an increase to health funding we are all in serious trouble. With your vote, we can improve and save lives.

Yours sincerely,

NZNO Kaiwhakahaere Kerri Nuku, NZNO President Grant Brookes, the undersigned nurses, caregivers, midwives, healthcare assistants, kaiāwhina, and the people they care for.

You can add your name, where you’re from and message of support as a comment on the blog. Your nursing team would really appreciate it.

Authorised by Memo Musa, New Zealand Nurses Organisation,
Crowe Horwath House, 57 Willis Street, Wellington
PO Box 2128 Wellington

75 thoughts on “An open letter to New Zealand voters.

  1. Pingback: ‘He mahi kai takata’? Freed to care, proud to nurse in productive workplaces – Speech to NZNO Southern Regional Convention | Your Choice. Your Voice | Grant Brookes for NZNO President

  2. I am an RN in Christchurch. After the earthquakes there is a huge need for more funding, especially for mental health.

  3. Ageing and growing population. Terribly underfunded hospitals. Tiny and over run departments. Crazy expensive public healthcare. If we continue this way, people will die.

  4. We need more funding in health, we need more nurses on the floor.. not enough nurses mistakes happen!

  5. Our nurses need support. We cannot allow them to continue working in unsafe and unhealthy conditions. Let’s stand up for our nurses everyone

  6. I’ve worked as a registered nurse for 30 years, each year nurses are being asked to do more with less funding. That’s not about what goes into our accounts but what governments allocate to DHBs, aged care, GPs, plunket and the rest of the health sector. As amazing as nurses are at propping up New Zealand’s health system, we are finding it too hard. We are short staffed, caring for more complex cases because as patients you sit for longer and longer on waiting lists, sadly becoming more unwell. New Zealand used to have one of the best health systems around but now it’s falling down as the money is not keeping up with inflation and with needs of people.
    I want to go to work and be able to give the best practice nursing care, not rush, or attend to basic tasks. This year let’s work to get everyone’s health at the top of New Zealand’s priority list.

    • Thank you and all nurses and health workers in NZ but especially at Auckland city hospital. I have been a patient since the age of 3yrs…..I have survived through multiple medical conditions & some surgery as I have grown up. I am now 66yrs of age. Very recently was in Auckland hospital. All the nurses to the very top gave me 100% plus taking care of me in ward 68, level 6. Some days they were rushed off their feet but they still were so caring to everyone in my 4 bedded room. I was not bed bound, so also helped with others who were. THANK YOU ALL FROM THE BOTTOM OF MY HEART.
      Tomorrow, I have a mid 40’s niece graduating with her nursing degree and a greatniece in 30’s doing likewise both in Auckland. I wish them both every success in their chosen vocations. I am a Labour Party member. Thank you.
      Jeanette Hutchinson Onehunga.

  7. I left the DHB after 20 years off nursing in a busy neurosurgical ward because I was exhausted, frustrated and exasperated that I was unable to provide the level of care that my patients deserved, and that would give me a degree of job satisfaction. Health needs more funding!!

  8. I am an Enrolled Nurse and know that with better funding myself and all other Kiwi trained nurses will get jobs in NZ. I want to be able to help others and do the job I am trained to do.

  9. New Zealand health care has deteriorated so much in the past few years it is so heartbreaking. I used to feel proud to say I was a Nurse now at times I feel embarrassed, I recently returned home to NZ and was so sad to see the deterioration. not enough staff. not enough time. poor working conditions all round. What on earth has happened to us. WE NEED MORE. WE DESERVE MORE. WE ARE NEW ZEALAND. NOT a third world country.

  10. Agreed. Constantly getting business cases for staff increases to match increased workloads agreed by managers based on validated data knocked back at the last hurdle due to lack of funds. Patients suffer, care is rationed, Nurses struggle to manage increased workloads safely.

  11. I’m in the last year of a degree program… Being privileged to provide genuine quality patient centred care to patients and their whanau is one of my key motivations to why I want to nurse. How scary to think that in the reality of my new career, I may be restricted from being the sort of nurse I want to be.

  12. Mental health in NZ has been overlooked and the results are reflected in the drug, alcohol and substance abuse, homelessness to name a few here in NZ. To care for society takes funding, to abuse society is simply to cut those funds. Many health professionals are such caring people, whose intentions to aid the health of another are being abused due to the restrictions as a result of a lack in funding…. health of a nation affects everything in our society.

  13. I’ve been a patient and a caregiver in this system. There are some exceptional staff who you know go above and beyond their pay grade to ensure your safety, and others who do not have the energy, they just cant. I’ve helped staff to lessen their load. The nursing staff are considered the bottom of the food chain in the cuts, they are the face mostly seen by patients and relatives, they get the most flack. The whole system is broken but it is the nurses who come to you in the night when your pain is excessive, their empathy and availability is essential.

  14. Everyday when I go to work there are staffing deficits, and unfortunately where I work we see a ridiculous amount of people each day who require urgent health care. For example one day this week we were down 3nurses on a morning shift, 3nurses on an afternoon shift and then surprise 5 nurses on a night shift. Those staffing deficits are incredibly unsafe and I know I stayed on for extra hours and am now exhausted on my one day off. We need to look after our staff by not overworking them so then we can look after our patients safely.

  15. We in ambulance are in the same boat. All for the pt’s. A great cause!

  16. Imagine a health system where a nurse can be with you whenever you need one. We can have enough nurses, if we have enough funding.

  17. I’m an RN in NZs busiest Emergency Department and my spirit is slowly being broken. Ready to leave the profession I once had such a passion for because of staffing, pay and how busy we are all the time.

  18. I’m an RN working in Mental Health and Addictions. We are under staffed and under resourced on a daily basis, and sadly lives continue to be lost due to this, and will continue to be lost if something doesn’t change now!
    Please help us to help our clients and their families/whanau – their lives do matter!
    I am tired of being the ambulance at the bottom of the cliff….

  19. I recently left NZ (same workplace as Paige above) as the workload and stress is not reflected in the pay packet. I’m sick and tired of working harder, not smarter. Why work my bum off and burn out, have patients and family day in and day out abusing me with no thanks when I can earn double the pay and live a more stress free relaxed life over the ditch? I know packing it in isn’t the answer, but at what point do you say enough is enough?

  20. I love my job. I love that what I do makes a difference. I would love for the public of NZ to support us in our requests to the NZ govt.

  21. Nursing and all staff within our hospitals want to help New Zealanders get well and stay well. BUT we are only human we have put own problems our own families when we come to work we would love there to be enough staff to adequately look after you, we would love there to be the equipment we need, we would love the tests and procedures to be done at times that would suit you. We don’t want you to be on a waiting list -but you are. We don’t want your mother feeling dirty and uncomfortable but often she is. We don’t want you sitting in outpatients for hours-but you do. We don’t want you paying for car parks but you do.
    We want a health system that works it needs money it needs certainty it needs leadership.
    We also want to finish work with enough energy to be with our families with enough money for rent and food and the car we need because of shift work.

  22. I’m a DNM in Gisborne and am constantly frustrated with the end results of New Zealand’s poor health funding. Being further away from a tertiary hospital our people have to wait longer for services and sometimes even miss out altogether. We have the same struggles with being understaffed and trying to care for sicker people without the right resources to give our best as our people deserve. Health funding is definitely a huge issue, so too is managing that funding at all levels of the health service.
    We have a large number of registered nurses in this country without jobs when we are constantly saying we are understaffed, and with only 50% of our new grads getting places on our new grad programs – this just does not make sense. Let’s all shout out together to make a difference, we are not a third world country are we?

  23. It’s time we stood up for safer working conditions, a pay rise in line with inflation and accountability toward what our MECA actually states.

  24. I am registered nurse in New Zealand. Nurses do not spend those funds in any leisure. Authorities should understand that. They should provide best resources to provide heathy life. Underfunding is not any solution. It will cause more problematic conditions. Atleast we should follow MECA if not properly aware of that what should be done. This is a job where nurses and health practitioners are sacrificing the most. It is one of the hardest job. Authorities, providing funding, should consider us seriously. Otherwise, migration of New Zealand nurses will be continued.

  25. As a new graduate nurse, I’m eager to start my career and help people but without funding I have no hope in being employed. Preference always goes to experience which also comes with age. It creates a huge gap for younger nurses.

  26. New Zealanders deserve the best care possible. In order to provide this we need more staff, more time with our patients & increased funding to health.

  27. Very stressed workforce, more complex patients requiring more resources and staff and w haven’t got this. Health is about health so surely those who are nurses should not have work impact their own health.

  28. Nurses ourselves, vote wisely, be informed about what the political parties say their health policies will be if elected. Remember less than 40% of eligible voters vote. When you vote, take a friend, encourage your families, friends and colleagues to vote.

  29. At times we are overworked and unappreciated as long we do the work and meet targets.. We get called in to discuss too much sick leave due to just being burnt out.. I love what I do but working understaffed with high acuity is so unrealistic and surely unsafe..We need MORE staff means more funding for better and BEST care for your whanau and mine…

  30. Pingback: ‘An urgent need: Investing in productive workplaces’ – Speech to NZNO Canterbury/West Coast Regional Convention | Your Choice. Your Voice | Grant Brookes for NZNO President

  31. Nurses care, even in the worst or times, nurses step up and care. Nurses need time to care and to provide individuals with the best healthcare they can. We love what we do but its harder and harder to be a nurse these days and to do our best for everyone due to understaffing and a lack of respect. Show us you care for us as much as we care for you.

  32. Nurses need to be able to provide the services they were trained to provide. In the current climate of underfunding and understaffing it is OUR whanau that are missing out!

  33. Nurses in every area of health care are sick and tired of having to do more work with less money, resources and support. Continued underfunding is only going to lead to a major crisis that will impact on all New Zealanders. Please join us in letting the government know that this is unacceptable and needs to change now!

  34. This National Government has made Health a low priority!! They have continued to cut the budgets to all Hospital boards leaving them with insufficient money to pay for enough staff. We are very stretched and stressed and our patient care is suffering. We all need to become much more active towards nurses rights and also to change this Government!

  35. Wake up New Zealander’s, there is a crisis in many front line areas of health. At some point it is going to effect you, or your family, friends and loved ones when they become a patient, and need treatment. I have been in Nursing 25 years, and right now is the most serious under staffing I have ever seen. Senior staff are leaving exhausted and disillusioned with the health system, and it’s going to continue unless there is money directed where it needs to go – and that is front line health professionals- ie nurses. Listen to nurses, we know exactly what is happening in Wards, Hospitals and Public Health, unfortunately many in Management have lost touch with the reality of what is required to provide safe 24/7 care to very unwell patients. Nurses Know: Nurses Care.

  36. Rose Reed

    Staff:patient ratios are causing patients to experience a lack of care, research shows better outcomes and decreased ill health when adequate care is provided the first time, funding to specifically increase staffing is required and is cost effective long term.

  37. over the years there has been a constant underfunding of the health care system. This needs to stop as the health of our nation is deteriorating and our ability to provide treatment and care lessens.

  38. Thank you for writing this and expressing how many healthcare workers feel everyday. Not only nurses in public hospitals, but, nurses, aides and caregivers working in rest-homes or providing care for people in their own homes.

  39. This country needs to invest in health if there is to be an improvement in lifestyle and standards of living for all.

  40. As as RN working in the community I absolutely support putting health first.

  41. I’m also an RN in the community and there are some real needs out there, and much more we could do if things weren’t so tight

  42. Investing in health today is an investment in our future.

  43. I am a clinical nurse specialist in the eye department in Invercargill. I would like to see the service resourced sufficiently so we will not have to turn patients away. Every day I have to refuse services such as cataract surgery to patients who desperately need this. The service is under resourced and this is alarming. It causes stress to both our patients and to staff. It is time, the government will provide health care to New Zealanders when they need it. Healthcare should never be rationed.

  44. Pingback: Making it happen: Investment in health & productive workplaces – Speech to NZNO Midlands/Bay of Plenty/Tairāwhiti Regional Convention | Your Choice. Your Voice | Grant Brookes for NZNO President

  45. New Zealand need a well-funded health syst

  46. Pingback: Step it up, #ShoutOutForHealth – Speech to NZNO Greater Wellington Regional Convention | Your Choice. Your Voice | Grant Brookes for NZNO President

  47. Quite simple – do you, as a voter, want to wait for a year or more for a hip or knee replacement, becoming so deconditioned that your recovery takes another year? Vote for health so that we can all get the care we deserve!

  48. I am becoming increasingly frustrated by our substandard health care funding within the community and the dhb. We as nurses are also impacted by the lack of funding. Nurses lack resources, time, suffer from burn out and go home with a minimal wage, whilst battling against the rising cost of living. I could not financially support myself had it not been for my partner.

  49. Im an healthcare assistant in a dhb and we are constantly under the pump.Patients are getting sicker and heavier. So they take longer, however we are not getting the staff to reflect the higher need. Everyone is now running on empty as we try to provide just basic hygiene.

  50. Im an healthcare assistant in a dhb and we are constantly under the pump.Patients are getting sicker and heavier. So they take longer, however we are not getting the staff to reflect the higher need. Everyone is now running on empty as we try to provide just basic
    hygiene. Also wages are not keeping up with living costs.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s