Nurses on strike nationwide after rejecting latest District Health Board pay offer

Nurses nationwide have began their 24-hour strike (start time 7am) after the latest pay offer from District Health Boards (DHB) was rejected.

"We are advocating for the value of the nursing and midwifery professions, and for equality and safe public health systems," Cee Payne of the New Zealand Nurses Organisation (NZNO) said.

Auckland City Hospital on the morning of the nurses strike.
Auckland City Hospital on the morning of the nurses strike. Source: 1 NEWS

"We know that's important for everyone in New Zealand."

"We do want to see a resolution to this dispute ... It is one that requires additional funding."

Chair of the NZNO's mental health section Helen Garrick recently commented on how a decade of underfunding, growing demand and increasingly complex needs has led the mental health nursing workforce to "breaking point".

The Acting PM said nurses gave a commitment no one would be endangered by tomorrow’s strike. Source: 1 NEWS

From an earlier survey of members, NZNO found that high caseloads, low staffing levels, inadequate community and inpatient services and insufficient inpatient beds were amongst the main concerns of their nurses.

"Over 71 per cent of survey respondents report feeling unsafe at work," Ms Garrick said.

Ms Garrick said the overall working environment needs "to be better suited to modern-day needs and believe this will make the environment safer for all".

DHB spokesperson Helen Mason says DHBs were disappointed the nurses had decided to reject the offer.

"We respect nurses' right to strike in support of their claims, we also need to recognise that negotiation involves a degree of compromise."

She said DHB's main concern is now to ensure the safety of patients and staff during the strike.

"Nurses are highly skilled professionals and those skills cannot be easily replaced. DHBs and nurses have an obligation to provide emergency and essential services, although we will be under pressure to provide the same care in the same way."

Payne claims nurses are still open to further talks with the DHB, "to resolve the negotiation impasse and to achieve an offer that is acceptable" for their members.

"Patient safety and public safety is paramount."

While the strike is taking place, she reminds the public that "life preserving services and contingency plans will be in place across the twenty district health boards".

Nurses will turn out in numbers to picket hospitals across the country, but they've also vowed not to let the strike endanger lives. Source: 1 NEWS



Australian doctor admits to helping suffering patient die

An Australian doctor has admitted to helping one of her suffering patients to die in an exclusive interview with Australia's 60 minutes.

West Australian based GP Alida Lancee is putting her reputation and freedom on the line by identifying one patient who requested her help in assisted dying.

This admission will most likely spark a police investigation and a possible murder charge.

"I’m not wimping out now. I’m going to take this all the way," Dr Lancee told 60 Minutes. "Deal with me as you see fit."

A long-time campaigner for euthanasia, Dr Lancee was investigated by police in 2016 over the death of one of her patients.

They found that her patient died of natural causes and there was no wrongdoing.

What police didn't realise is they were investigating the wrong patient.

Now, Dr Lancee wants to set the record straight in a bid to change Australia's euthanasia laws.

"Right now, behind closed doors in Australia, hundreds of people are begging for help," says Dr Lancee.

"This is no minor issue. This is not something that you can say, 'oh it's not happening because I can't see it'.

"If this requires a challenge in the court system, I have medical opinions who will back me up."

A police investigation has seen Dr Lancee face very public scrutiny being labelled "Dr Death", but 60 Minutes reveals, she is not without support.

Two other Australian doctors have come forward to 60 Minutes and have admitted to assisting terminally ill patients end their life.

Dr Frank Kotai says he has assisted in half a dozen deaths and Dr Rodney Syme admits to a staggering 300.

This admission could land them both in jail, but it is one they say is worth the risk if it results in their patients having control over the end of their lives.

"We recognise her courage and her enthusiasm," Dr Kotai says. "(Dr Lancee is) courageous enough to go out there in the public space.

"Not many doctors are willing to do it, and so she’s quite unique."

In June 2019 new laws will make Victoria the only state in Australia where it is legal for doctors to assist terminal patients who seek their help to end their lives.

Dr Lancee, Dr Kotai and Dr Syme are hopeful that by airing their stories, Australians will support them in their campaign to allowing for an end of life choice.

Mr Seymour, author of the End of Life Choice Bill, debated the pros and cons with Dr Peter Thirkell of the Care Alliance, which opposes euthanasia.
Source: 1 NEWS


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New Zealand resident involved in people-smuggling to be deported

A Pakistani man involved in a people-smuggling operation in America, who gained residence in New Zealand, is the subject of a fraud investigation and is going to be deported.

But he has been told he can make a fresh application for residence.

In 2005, the stepfather-of-two was caught by a United States border patrol crossing from Canada, driving a van carrying eight Indian nationals, none with visas.

He changed his name and arrived in 2013 to enter into an arranged marriage.

When he applied for residence, the 39-year-old failed to disclose he had been convicted, deported and had used another name.

He had also previously unsuccessfully claimed refugee status in Canada.

When his visa deception was revealed, the former immigration minister, Michael Woodhouse decided he should be deported.

He appealed to the immigration and protection tribunal, which heard about his part in the people-smuggling.

He met an "agent" who offered to get him a legitimate visa for the United States for $US5000 ($NZ7479) and offered to reduce the cost if he agreed to drive a vehicle to the border for him, he told the tribunal.

He was arrested and jailed, meeting his New Zealand resident-wife online once he had been deported back to Pakistan.

His lawyer said he would face severe risks to his safety if he was again deported there, because he is a Shia Muslim.

He suffered threats to his life on his last visit there, she said, and deportation would result in the permanent separation from his family to whom he was a "pillar of support".

The tribunal heard he was the subject of an open fraud investigation by the police in relation to his directorship of a car company. The sum under investigation is said to be substantial.

It ruled he did have exceptional humanitarian circumstances because of his wife and stepson's health issues but it would not be unduly harsh to deport him.

"[His] concealment of his deportation from the United States (bolstered by his concealment of ever having lived there, or in Canada) went to the heart of his residence application," it said, in its written decision.

"The concealment undermined the integrity of New Zealand's immigration system in a serious way.

"He was not the architect of the scheme but more of a 'mule'. It does not, however, alter the fact that he sustained a conviction for a serious, immigration-related offence."

But it lifted a ban on him re-applying for visas.

"While deportation is not unjust or unduly harsh in all the circumstances, the tribunal considers that any adverse effect on [her and her children] ought to be mitigated as far as is possible, given the genuineness of the marriage and the fact that she and her children are innocent parties."

By Gill Bonnett

rnz.co.nz

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New Zealand airports 'woefully underprepared' for tourist influx - aviation expert

New Zealand's airports are woefully under prepared for the numbers of tourists coming through their gates, an aviation commentator says.

In an email sent to customers, Air New Zealand chief executive Christopher Luxon said he was frustrated with the under investment by local airport companies that has created backlogs for travellers.

Mr Luxon also announced that Air New Zealand will stop flying to Vietnam from next year due to engine maintenance issues involving Rolls Royce powered planes.

Aviation commentator Peter Clark said Air New Zealand's problems have been ongoing for years.

"Auckland Airport is a classic example, it's been trying to play catch up for years and it's too late, it should have been done," Mr Clark said.

"The government needs to look into this, where have we gone so badly wrong in New Zealand?"

Mr Clark said he was also concerned New Zealand businesses have not learnt enough lessons from last year's Marsden Point pipeline shut down.

The 10-day shut down last September was caused when a digger burst the pipeline near Ruakaka, spilling up to 80,000 litres of fuel on nearby farmland and causing severe disruption to flights.

Mr Clark said if another burst were to occur, it would be catastrophic.

"If we have a problem and a plane is stuck on a runway for even more than half a day it causes absolute chaos in New Zealand by diverting aircraft, putting people up, accommodation, getting crews to fly aircraft's. Where is the total back up?"

In a statement, a spokesperson for Auckland Airport said it was planning to invest around $2 billion in its business over the next few years as part of a 30 year plan to develop the facility.

He said that included plans for a second runway, new car parking options, improvements to the Domestic Terminal, and new food and beverage outlets.

New facilities for aircraft have already opened.

rnz.co.nz 

New Zealand airports are under prepared for the amount of tourists coming through the gates. Source: rnz.co.nz


What's up with Southland's 'cat killer'? SPCA refuses to be drawn on investigation

The SPCA won't say if its investigation into a man who claims to have buried 170 cats in his vegetable garden is complete.

Ian Gamble, from Invercargill, posted the claim on Environment Southland's social media page in September.

The Facebook comment was a response to a Council proposal to microchip and register cats in some areas.

"I have lived here for over 30 years and have 170 cats in my veggie garden, which is the best place for a cat in a bush suburb," Mr Gamble wrote.

The comment upset other posters, with one saying they were going to contact the SPCA.

Mr Gamble's remarks since been removed from the Council's page.

At the time, the SPCA confirmed that it was investigating this claim, but when Stuff contacted a spokesperson on Tuesday they said the organisation was "unable to give any further comment on the investigation at this time".

Last month, Mr Gamble told Stuff he made the comments to "rark up the cat ladies of Otatara".

"I’m legally allowed to use a humane kill trap on my property and almost all of those cats were feral," he said.

Mr Gamble added he had not killed any of his neighbours cats and had not used firearms to kill them.

A kitten, aged six to eight weeks, looks upward.
A kitten, aged six to eight weeks, looks upward. Source: istock.com