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The Government must intervene urgently and ensure that mediation with nurses and midwives takes place to prevent industrial action so that patients get the care they need, National Party spokesperson for Health Michael Woodhouse says.

“The Health Minister, David Clark is admitting defeat by saying the Government has ‘gone as far as [it] can in terms of extra Government money’. This is unacceptable – he created the problem by promising the world and then prioritising billions in other spending and he now needs to fix it.

“He has both the ability and responsibility to address the hugely raised expectations and avoid industrial action.

“David Clark also appears to blame nurses for the situation by expressing his disappointment that they didn’t accept the offer. Clark is clearly out of touch with the mood of nurses and this is not good enough.

“There are 72 hours before a strike notice would be issued by NZNO before the first strike on the 5th of July and time is marching on. DHBs need to put contingency plans into place to ensure the continuity of emergency care and the deferment of elective surgeries.

“We are heading into winter, which is the busiest time of the year for hospitals, and the prospects of nurses’ strikes poses a significant risk for the public.

“The first thing Labour did when it came into Government was prioritise $1 billion for diplomats and $2.8 billion for tertiary students leaving little money to invest in health and other important areas.

“It is time for the Health Minister to make up for the raised expectations and avoid strike action which will have a hugely negative impact on the health of Kiwis.

“David Clark created this mess and the clock is ticking. The Government must avoid the potential strike action as soon as possible.”

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