Government welcomes progress on nurses’ pay equity


The Government welcomes the Employment Relations Authority interim order on nurses’ pay equity following Te Whatu Ora Health New Zealand’s application. This means the rates agreed a year ago can be paid, Health Minister Andrew Little says.

“This Government is committed to improving nurses’ pay. We have already increased registered nurses’ wages by about 20 per cent.

“We are also committed to pay equity for nurses. That is why we amended the Equal Pay Act so this could be achieved.

“A year ago agreement in-principle was reached with the nurses’ unions on a pay equity deal which would mean around another 14 per cent pay boost. The government set aside the money to fund it.

“That deal then became the subject of litigation, which is ongoing, and which prevented the government from paying nurses more.

“Now the Employment Relations Authority has given Te Whatu Ora Health New Zealand the ability to do so.

“The pay equity process is complex and technical, and that is why it often takes time to get to the point of agreement. It is clear that the ongoing litigation will take a long time to resolve. I continue to urge the parties involved to seek to resolve issues by agreement as they arise.

“I will now take the next steps to make the funds available when Te Whatu Ora payroll systems are ready to go. This means nurses will get a significant pay rise in their pockets in the new year,” Andrew Little said.

Editors’ notes

  • Nurses straight out of nursing school would start work in a public hospital on $66,570 a year without counting overtime and allowances, and experienced nurses will be on a basic pay rate of $95,340 before overtime and allowances.
  • These rates are competitive with wages in Australia, with newly graduated nurses in New South Wales on $67,311, in Queensland on $74,963 and in Victoria on $67,713.