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Health Minister David Clark needs to walk the talk and work with DHBs to ensure they can successfully negotiate a pay increase with nurses before strike action is taken, National’s Health Spokesperson Michael Woodhouse says.

“It comes as no surprise that the New Zealand Nurses Organisation has rejected the DHBs’ offer of a 2 per cent pay increase given the very high expectations created by this Government.

“Labour spent years talking about how the health sector was underfunded and as a result created the expectation that nurses were in for a big bump in their wages.

“Yet the first thing it does when it comes into Government is throw $2.8 billion at tertiary students leaving little money to invest in health and other important areas.

“Health Minister David Clark must at the very least make sure that DHBs have the confidence to make a higher offer to nurses by signalling future funding.

“And he must do it quickly, before nurses go on strike for the first time in decades. Strike action just as we’re approaching winter would cripple our health system and put lives at risk.

“This is a mess created by the Government and an example of the dangers of over promising and under delivering.

“It’s simply not good enough for the Government to sit on the sidelines and leave it to the DHBs to clean up its mess.”

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