Nurses have voted to reject a pay offer of two per cent a year for three years offered by the 20 district health boards, reports the New Zealand Nurses’ Organisation.

The DHBs’ offer – that had been endorsed by the NZNO negotiating team – had been widely criticised in social media by some of the 27,000 nurses, midwives and health care assistants covered by the proposed deal.

Lesley Harry, the NZNO industrial advisor, said the members rejection of the offer – which was presented to members at 400 meetings over the past few weeks – reflected their view that the offer was not enough.  “(The offer) failed to respect nurses, midwives and healthcare assistants and the huge effort and value they bring to patients and our communities,” said Harry.

She said the next formal step was likely to be mediation between NZNO and the DHBs, with negotiating team confident that it now had a “good steer from members” though it would also be seeking additional feedback on areas of the offer that needed to change.

“Of course nurses and DHB employers will be doing their best to reach an employment agreement acceptable to both parties,” said Harry.

“Consideration of industrial action will only occur if NZNO and DHBs cannot achieve a resolution of the issues members have raised,”  Harry confirmed.

(Extended article with further comment from Harry on failure of pay equity ‘carrot’ can be read at Nursing Review)


  1. We had been tolerating 1% increment yearly for the last decade. We needed at least 20% more to compensate for the sacrifice we made for the last decade. We also have tax to pay, rate/rent to give, and family to feed too. All of which increases much more than our salary all these year.

    • Agreed Andrew! Nurses move around the country in past decade to find affordable accommodation and to be able to pay rent and put food on the table for the family. I know nursing coulegues that survives on one sallary with dependents. Auckland and other cities are no longer afordble. The smal provences dont employ large numbers of nurses. I think one of the biggest challenges in nursing is that we are mostly seen as a female majority workforce. The old gender bias and the thinking may still exist. I see our proffisional representative weak and ineffective. I may be wrong but I think NZNO must take a firm stance that it is no longer 1950 and we as a professional are paid less than a truck driver.

  2. Having just returned home from living and working in Queensland for the last 16 years in a variety of roles I have found the wages here so discriminatory and totally unfair when the work and standards are just the same in both countries. The difference is Aussie nurses don’t tolerate it and the union is strong and vocal.


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