Outside Parliament Andrew Little was howled down, often by nurses who had voted Labour because they really believed this government believed in their cause. These nurses didn’t appreciate being reminded that nursing is a global environment, and that as a government they “still think the salaries that are offered are competitive along with other working conditions and clearly, obviously, living here in New Zealand”.
One nurse cried out, why do you think that Wellington Hospital’s busy emergency department has lost more than 20 of their nurses in the past three months, and seven nurses across the hospital have left for Australia in the past three weeks in search of better wages and conditions? Experienced nurses, including four in senior positions, had accounted for most of the resignations.
A nurse next to me said she goes home and collapses. Her happy home life is deteriorating because she has nothing left in her tank when she gets home. She has been nursing for close to 38 years.
After hearing their stories I feel totally convinced they are a very special case at this point in time in New Zealand, and life has to be made easier for them. There’s no other choice and no other group so deserving. It’s even making me begin to hate the America’s Cup now. As a born-and-bred Aucklander, it’s impossible to overlook the excitement of those boats on the water and I’ve even previously supported the insane financial amounts offered by the governments of the day. But that cool $99 million set aside for this event should now be passed onto these nurses. These are unprecedented times.