Nurses make their voices heard

By Te Kuru o te Marama Dewes

Nurses from Ngāti Porou Hauora (NPH) are striking due to what they say is a lack of equity and a pay disparity between them and nurses in the public health sector.

NPH nurse and New Zealand Nurses Organisation (NZNO) member Gina Chaffey-Aupouri says, “We're here just for pay parity, to be equally paid with Tairāwhiti [District Hospital]”.

Tairawhiti District Health nurse and NZNO member Marion Clark says, “They get a pittance compared to us- and we don't get that much.”

Chaffey-Aupouri from NPH has been a nurse for 40 years.  She says rural nurses face unique challenges due to isolation and their efforts aren't being recognised.

“We live 100 kilometres down the road from Tairāwhiti nurses and we're paid $16-$20,000 less for the same qualification,” says Chaffey-Aupouri.

NPH operates one hospital and six clinics throughout the rural East Coast.  They receive funding from the Hauora Tairāwhiti DHB.

NPH board member Huti Puketapu Watson says,“We have sympathy for the nurses of Ngāti Porou Hauora because the real issue is the difference in their pay compared to the nurses at our DHB.”

Clark is a nurse at Tairāwhiti District Hospital and she supports the stand being taken by the nurses at NPH.

“They may be the only health professional that the people see so they've got to make on-the-spot decisions [on] whether to seek further help or not and they're not recognised for their thirty years’ experience and knowledge,” says Clark.

Te Kāea contacted Hauora Tairāwhiti for comment but they are yet to respond.