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Nurses' rejection of new offer really disappointing, says New Zealand's Clark

David Clark
Pacific   Health Minister David Clark

There is no more money in the government kitty for nurses but what's available could be restructured, New Zealand Health Minister David Clark says.

Nationwide nursing strikes look likely after nurses rejected an improved pay offer from District Health Boards (DHBs).

The DHBs' latest offer included pay increases of between nine and 15 percent to be rolled out over 15 to 18 months.

It's nearly double the previous offer from DHBs in February and is worth more than half a billion dollars.

David Clark told Checkpoint it was "really disappointing" the nurses had rejected the latest deal, saying it was the largest offer to nurses in over a decade.

However, he was impressed with the way nurses and the DHBs were working together and he still hoped a solution could be found to avoid industrial action.

"I am slightly encouraged that both the nurses organisation and the DHB are publicly saying that they will do everything they can to avoid strike action - facilitation or mediation - but it's a struggle to know exactly what would turn that around.

"At this point, I think the DHB would be all ears to hear if there is a different way that that package can be structured to meet nurses' needs."

He said regardless of the result of bargaining, the government had committed to funding an extra 500 nurses - a two percent increase in nursing numbers.


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