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Nurses pay becomes treaty issue

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Maori nurses are preparing to put a claim for pay equity for Maori nurses to the Waitangi Tribunal.

The New Zealand Nurses Organisation kaiwhakahaere Kerri Nuku says the settlement of the claim by nurses working for District Health Boards has highlighted the gap between pay for DHB nurses and those employed by iwi and Māori health providers - which can be hundreds of dollars a week for similar workloads.

Recruitment and retention has suffered with Māori as a percentage of the nursing workforce stuck on 7 percent for the past decade.

She says Māori nurses should not be penalised for working for their communities.

"We must be training nurses to get paid the same and not encouraging and training nurses to work in Māori communities where they are certainly going to be underpaid if the current funding formula isn’t improved," Ms Nuku says.

Under the previous Labour Government the health select committee looked at the issue but its recommendations were shelved by the incoming National-Māori Party Government.


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