Nurses on strike until 7am Friday: What you need to know

The New Zealand Nurses Organisation (NZNO) rejected the latest pay offer from their DHB employers and are strike for 24 hours. Here is everything you need to know:

Who's on strike?

Capital Coast District Health Board Chief Medical Officer Dr John Tait says DHBs have planned for the strike for months. Source: Breakfast

Up to 29,500 nurses, midwives and healthcare assistants working for district health boards.

The Nurses’ union says offers from the Government are not acceptable. Source: Breakfast

These people are estimated to comprise 60 to 70 percent of the DHBs' hospital workforce. Canterbury DHB estimates around 90 percent of its nursing workforce is eligible to strike.

In total, the nurses' union (NZNO) has 50,00 members, 29,500 of whom are covered by the multi-employer collective agreement (MECA) governing DHB-employed hospital nurses and midwives.

When is it on?

From 7am this morning until 7am tomorrow morning.

Why are they striking?

Nurses have rejected four pay offers from DHBs in just over a year.

The latest offer boosted the minimum pay increase nurses would receive from 9 percent to 12.5 percent, but delays the time taken for the pay rises to take effect.

DHBs and the government have maintained there was no more money available for nurses' pay negotiations.

The Nurses Organisation is recommending the improved offer which includes pay increases of 12.5 to 15.9 percent, to be rolled out over 25 months.

Strike action was also scheduled for early July but was called off because the DHB offer was improved and NZNO recommended their members accept it.

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

"Issues faced and reported by our members have arisen from a decade of severe underfunding of our public hospitals which have failed to keep pace with growing community need, the ageing population and workforce, and increased costs," said NZNO Industrial Services Manager Cee Payne.

Lack of trust in DHBs is a big issue for nurses.

The NZNO needed a simple majority to reject the latest pay offer to proceed with the strike.

While the organisation never release voting statistics, it says this week's vote was closer than last time.

Nurses have not gone on strike for 30 years.

What was the offer the nurses rejected?

Members of the Nurses Organisation rejected the fourth offer by DHBs on Monday.

The offer redistributed available funding, lifting the minimum increase from 9 per cent to 12.5 per cent but over a longer period, over 25 months, or until August 2020.

DHBs also said they would begin recruiting immediately an extra 500 or so full-time staff.

The offer also provided a date - 31 December 2019 - for the implementation of pay equity, in a package estimated to be worth $520 million.

Are all nurses happy with the decision to strike?

The union has come under fire on social media with intense debate and criticism of it by some nurses for failing, in their view, to advocate strongly enough for nurses against their employers over years.

Who will provide cover?

Nurses who are union members and others are "Nurse Responders" who have agreed to provide vital life preserving services for the strike. This is a legal requirement during a strike.

Cover for any nurses who are providing life preserving services but become sick and can't work during the strike will be provided under separate emergency procedures.

The NZNO wants to assure the public that patient and public safety is paramount at all times.

How many operations have been deferred?

To reduce demand within public hospitals DHBs have beem deferring elective, or non-urgent surgical procedures. All outpatient appointments - hundreds for every hospital - have also been cancelled for Thursday, to free up staff for other things on the day of the strike.

The DHBs' lead contingency planner Anne Aitcheson said Wednesday between 3500 and 3700 elective procedures nationwide will probably be deferred, to be rescheduled later. The chief medical officer at Capital and Coast DHB, John Tait, said on Tuesay 6000 to 8000 elective appointments nationwide will need to be deferred on Thursday.

What happens in a major emergency like an earthquake?

Emergency plans agreed by the nurses' union and DHB contingency planners would cover this possibility.

Advice for anyone needing care:

People who had an outpatient appointment for today should have been contacted by now. Phone your general practice team/family doctor for advice if needed, or if it's an emergency dial 111.

DHBs have also told the public to access emergency and urgent care as normal - going straight to the hospital emergency department if required. And they've urged those in need of such help not to stay away from hospital at the expense of their health.

Where to from here?

At this stage there are no further strikes notified and no more talks planned between the parties. During a strike longer-term considerations take a backseat to managing hospitals during the strike

Nurses have said they remain available.

The 24 hour strike over pay and work conditions began at 7am today. Source: 1 NEWS



'It is what it is' - PM accepts world media attention could turn to Neve during UN trip

When Jacinda Ardern arrives in New York next week for her first United Nations General Assembly meeting, she's under no illusions she'll be able to focus solely on issues of national significance without fielding multiple questions about motherhood.

"Are you comfortable with pictures being taken and used in newspapers around the world?" 1 NEWS political editor Jessica Mutch McKay asked the Prime Minister in a one-on-one interview today.

Ms Ardern will be taking her daughter with her and plans to juggle responsibilities just like any working mum would, she said. But her schedule, which will include multiple keynote addresses and media appearances, will be more rigorous than an average business trip.

"I accept that by being in office and being the second woman to have a child in office that that's interesting, that's unusual," she said.

"There will be a day when it's not anymore, when it won't be seen as an extraordinary thing, and I look forward to that day. But for now, it is what it is."

Ms Ardern says she will try to keep Neve in her vicinity while working and be "discrete" while caring for her between engagements in an attempt to protect her privacy, as she has done in New Zealand since returning from maternity leave in August.

She said she hasn't given it much thought as to whether her unique situation has given her a larger platform on the world stage.

Climate change, big interviews and baby Neve were all on the agenda for the pair. Source: 1 NEWS

She suggested she won't be surprised if motherhood comes up during her scheduled media appearances, which include the Today Show, Late Night with Stephen Colbert and an interview with CNN's Christiane Amanpour.

"It's hard for me to quantify how much of that (international attention) is based on the interest in the fact that I'm a mum now," she said.

"I certainly make sure that when those opportunities arise, though, I come squarely back not to my personal issues but to the role that New Zealand can play on the international stage.

"The values we advocate. The things that are of New Zealand's interest, not just mine."

When Jacinda Ardern travels to New York next week, she’ll be taking her newborn with her. Source: 1 NEWS

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Strawberry needle scandal creating a booming trade for one food safety company

The strawberry scandal’s costing the industry millions of dollars, but it’s created a booming trade for one food safety company.

A&D Australasia provides metal detectors to food production companies, and their sales in the last week - including in New Zealand - have skyrocketed.

Spokesperson for the company Julian Horsley says he’s sold a year’s worth of products in just four days.

“There's an element of panic obviously because customers are saying we can't buy your product until this and this are in line - so that's obviously a commercial panic to them” he said.

Each detector costs around $22,000, but Horsley says growers are viewing them as an investment.

"For these guys it's either put my produce in the rubbish bin, or supply it to the customers.”

A&D Australasia provides metal detectors to food production companies, and their sales have gone through the roof. Source: 1 NEWS

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Jacinda Ardern says refugee quota gives NZ strength ahead of UN summit

Yesterday's refugee quota announcement, paired with the ban on oil and gas exploration announced in April, will give Jacinda Ardern more credibility and a stronger hand while attending the United Nations General Assembly in New York next week, she said.

"Of course, doing your part adds to your weight that you're able to bring to the debate," she told 1 NEWS political editor Jessica Mutch McKay in a one-on-one interview today.

Climate change, big interviews and baby Neve were all on the agenda for the pair. Source: 1 NEWS

During what will be her first UN General Assembly meeting, the Prime Minister has been chosen to deliver a number of keynote addresses, including for the opening of UN Climate Week. In devising her strategy for the week, Ms Ardern said she turned to our past.

"Nuclear proliferation is a great example," she said. "New Zealand's always been looked to as an exemplar because we've always taken a firm stance and we've acted on it. On climate change I hope we'll be seen in the same way. But yes, the refugee quote is about us doing our bit in response to a humanitarian crisis."

Ms Ardern announced yesterday that starting in 2020 New Zealand will help resettle 1500 refugees here per year, 500 more than the current amount and double what it will have been just five years earlier. The move has been hailed by the Red Cross and other humanitarian groups.

That's 500 extra people who'll be making New Zealand home annually. Source: 1 NEWS

Also during her week in New York, Ms Ardern will be appearing on the Today Show, The Late Show with Stephen Colbert and will sit down for an interview with CNN's Christiane Amanpour.

"It's hard for me really to know whether I'm getting any more or any less (attention) than other New Zealand leaders," she said as Mutch McKay pointed out they're pretty "big gigs".

"They are (big) but I'll be doing my best to make sure that they are in the best interest of New Zealanders as well," she said. "That I use those opportunities to promote New Zealand -- in some cases, as a destination, on others just promote our stance in issues of international significance.

"For me, it's about making sure I'm the best representative for New Zealand I can be while abroad."

The government say the move is to cut rising greenhouse emissions. Source: 1 NEWS

This week’s refugee quota announcement should give the PM a stronger hand in NYC, she told 1 NEWS journalist Jessica Mutch McKay. Source: 1 NEWS


Man who beat pensioner to death soon after release from mental health unit jailed at least 13 years

A man who stomped a pensioner to death shortly after being discharged from Auckland City Hospital's mental health unit has been sentenced to life in prison with a minimum non-parole period of 13 years.

Gabriel Yad-Elohim appeared at the High Court in Auckland today for sentencing for the murder of 69-year-old Michael Mulholland.

Mr Mulholland's daughter told the court that the pain of losing her father was immense.

She said her father was just an old man who enjoyed collecting National Geographic magazines and reading. He treasured gifts and letters from his children like diamonds.

Yad-Elohim had been out of Auckland City Hospital's Te Whetu Tawera for only three days when he killed Mr Mulholland in September last year.

His lawyers argued he had a disease of the mind, was hearing voices at the time and had no way of telling right from wrong.

The Crown said despite having schizophrenia, he knew right from wrong and killed Mr Mulholland for revenge after losing $200 in a methamphetamine deal.

rnz.co.nz

Gabriel Yad-Elohim at the High Court in Auckland today. (Claire Eastham-Farrelly) Source: rnz.co.nz