Midwives march to parliament for better pay and working conditions

By Talisa Kupenga

More than 800 midwives and supporters marched to parliament today to deliver a 13,000 signature petition demanding better pay and working conditions. 

They arrived signing 'We're not going to take it" protesting pay levels as low as $7 an hour after expenses and voiced their expectations of the upcoming budget announcement.

Ōpotiki based midwife Lisa Kelly says, "We don't get paid for being on-call, we don't get paid for administration, we don't get paid for emergency call-outs there is many things we don’t get paid for".

Tauranga-based second year Midwifery student Te Rina Joseph says, "They look after the most vulnerable, our new born pepi and they deserve to be looked after too".

They say it’s high time they are prioritised in the budget.

Kelly says, "We are expecting an announcement in the budget. It's important we get everything we applied for in the co-design, not part. We need all of it".

Health Minister David Clark says, "I'm not about to make budget announcements today but what I can say is that budget 2018 will contain some support for midwives.  We have heard them and we intend to begin to deliver some solutions".

The College of Midwives says the average take home hourly rate is just over $7.20 for rural midwives and around $12.80 for urban midwives after expenses are taken into account.

Midwife Audrene Samuel says it’s not good enough.

“Absolutely not.  Not for the amount of hours and the time that they put in. They're on-call 24 hours a day.  The women can call them and they just have to be there and the money doesn't reflect that".

When asked if midwives deserved a pay rise Minister Clark responded, “Midwives in New Zealand deserve to be funded sustainably for the work they do".

Midwives lodged a pay equity claim in the High Court three years ago which remains unresolved.