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



Police chastise Canterbury students who didn't intervene in bullying incident

Police today chastised students who opted not to intervene or call for help this week as a bullying incident was filmed at a Canterbury school.

Two students at Darfield High School are expected to appear before the school board today after school officials reviewed the video, which emerged yesterday on social media. In it, a boy lay on the ground as two others kicked and pummelled him.

"Police are particularly concerned that other students who saw what was happening, didn't intervene or get help from a teacher," Senior Sergeant Kelly Larsen said in a statement released to 1 NEWS. "Instead, they watched and took videos."

Darfield principal James Morris has described the incident as assault.

Police said they were alerted about the incident Tuesday afternoon, shortly after it happened.

"Bullying behaviour is not OK and has serious consequences," police said. "Rather than being a bystander, Police encourage anyone who witnesses an assault, or knows about other bullying behaviour to become someone who stands up against bullying, and does something about it.

"Bullying is wrong. We all have a responsibility to do something to stop it."

An outcome of the school board hearing is expected on Monday.

Darfield High School’s principal says police were notified shortly after the incident happened. Source: Supplied

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Police commend Good Samaritan as two kidnap attempts thwarted in Christchurch this morning

A man tried to abduct two women in back-to-back incidents in Christchurch this morning but failed after they fought back, with help from at least one bystander, according to police.

Authorities said they are speaking to a man over the incidents but are appealing to the public for more witnesses to come forward.

According to police, the first botched kidnapping occurred at 5.30am when he approached a woman at her car in the Jellie Park Recreation and Sports Centre on Ilam Road.

He then fled on a bicycle, pedalling through Jellie Park before approaching a jogger at the entrance of Ray Blank Park on Maidstone Road, police said.

The attacker fled again on bicycle after the woman fought him off, aided by a motorist who stopped to help her, according to police.

But this time he was followed by a motorist, who alerted police to a home on a nearby cul-de-sac that he was seen entering.

"We would really like to thank the member of the public who stopped to help the second victim," Detective Senior Sergeant Mark Worner said in a statement. "As the alleged offender is talking to Police we are confident the public has no reason to be concerned."

Anyone who saw either incident this morning and hasn't yet talked to police is asked to call 03 363 7400 to make a statement.

Police emergency scene
Police emergency scene Source: 1 NEWS

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John Armstrong: As Labour fast loses the plot, Sunday's moment of coalition unity was priceless

There’s no show without punch, and although Winston Peters did not say much, he said enough. Unlike the Prime Minister who was something of a disappointment.

Last Sunday’s carefully stage-managed display of unity by Jacinda Ardern and her deputy was not so much a case of fake news as one of fabricated news.

It was somehow befitting of the barmy politics emanating daily from the Government benches in Parliament that the coalition Government should half-celebrate its 12-month birthday having been in the job for just on 11 months.

A carefully-chosen audience was corralled on Auckland’s AUT campus to hear — or rather endure — Ardern taking close to half-an-hour to spell out her Government’s 12 priorities.

1 NEWS' Jessica Mutch and Benedict Collins give their opinions of the Acting Prime Minister who ran the country during Jacinda Ardern’s maternity leave.
Winston Peters. Source: 1 NEWS

Admittedly, it is difficult to inject excitement into a discussion of the virtues of intended alterations to the structure of the various Cabinet committees which meet weekly in the Beehive.

But one further priority would be finding a new speech writer for the Prime Minister before someone falls asleep and drowns in the verbiage. Or simply dies of boredom.

The said wordsmith's job is probably safe, however. The strict instruction from upon high would have been not to include the merest morsel of anything that those listening might find interesting — and which would detract from the whole purpose of the occasion, specifically the need for the Government to project an image as rock solid unified.

The political pantomime had one overriding objective — convincing an increasingly sceptical public that although Ardern and Peters might not always be on the same page, they are still capable of trading smiles on the same platform after 11 months of jostling one another.

While the Labour-New Zealand coalition has witnessed sporadic bouts of internal guerrilla warfare in recent times and principally on New Zealand First’s part, it is vastly over-dramatising things to suggest this so far occasional rebellion could become full-blown civil war.

So there was no chance of Peters going AWOL last Sunday. It would, however, have helped the coalition’s cause considerably had he uttered the immortal words "of course she's driving the car" during the earlier stages of the developing friction between the partners in Government. He was unwilling on Sunday to stretch the metaphor any further. But when it comes to back-seat driving or driving backwards, Peters is a master.

He has not taken on board any perceivable role as a back-room fixer for the coalition despite such a role having the capacity to alleviate some of the huge pressures weighing on Ardern’s shoulders.

He has instead exploited her inexperience as Labour’s leader and the fact that she spreads herself thin to bolster his party’s leverage within the coalition.

It is such game-play good that threatens the Government’s stability. It is not so much that the partners might clash over policy. As Ardern repeatedly notes, the coalition comprises three parties. There is always going to be disagreement over policy.

What matters is how such disputes are handled by the respective party leaderships - John Armstrong

What matters is how such disputes are handled by the respective party leaderships; whether, to use the parlance, they act on the basis of good faith and no surprises.

Ardern’s response to suggestions of disunity is to pretend there is none when she is so questioned. That is not credible.

She has now sought to brush off those claims made by her opponents by creating a distraction through repackaging her party’s priorities and relaunching them as a "coalition blueprint" under the title of Our Plan.

It would not have taken Labour’s spin-doctors long to dream up that title. It is the exact same one as used by National during the John Key-Bill English years in their similar quest to turn New Zealand into Utopia.

The only difference between Labour’s and National’s respective efforts was that Key was dismissive of such "vision documents". They might be useful in listing goals. They rarely provide detail of the means to be adopted to reach those goals. The day-to-day pressures of political life inevitably result in the prime minister of the day focusing heavily on short-term political management. Concentrating on the long-term can always be postponed to another day.

National’s various versions of vision have accordingly sunk without trace. That experience would have been a factor in Simon Bridges’ acidic observation that there was nothing in the long list of platitudes, banalities and truisms in Ardern’s blueprint which he would find hard to swallow. He isn’t wrong.

The producers of Ardern’s massive missive may have feared the same fate awaits their product as afflicted National’s equally turgid equivalent, creation.

That hurts. But Bridges is making the pertinent point that Ardern’s claim that her plan amounts to a "shared vision" of the three parties in her governing arrangement is utterly meaningless.

All it says is that the three-party grouping stretches so far across the political system that National can be accommodated with room to spare.

That makes it hard to keep the whole show on the road at the best of times.

With ministers falling like nine-pins, bureaucrats thinking nothing of splashing out $1.5 million on a justice policy summit and private consultants growing fat on the tidy sums to be made from servicing the plethora of working parties and task forces doing the work that career public servants are arguably better left to do, Labour is fast losing the plot.

But never mind. Ardern and her colleagues got what they wanted. That was a minute or two of coalition unity at the top of the six o’clock news. Given Labour’s growing malaise, that’s priceless.

The Prime Minister gave details of the Government plan during a speech in Auckland. Source: 1 NEWS


Auckland woman admits pimping out 14-year-old girl for sex

A 19-year-old woman has admitted pimping out a 14-year-old, accepting money from the client, and driving the girl to and from hotels around downtown Auckland.

Monoka Kelly appeared at the High Court in Auckland this morning where she pleaded guilty to a representative charge of sexually exploiting a 14-year-old girl.

Kelly's charge covers four occasions in March and April last year.

According to the summary of facts, she set up a profile for the 14-year-old on a smartphone app used by prostitutes.

The 19-year-old solo mother took the girl to the hotels and then received payment from the client by way of internet bank transfers.

Some of the money went to the 14-year-old.

Kelly was due to go on trial next week but this morning's guilty plea means the trial is not necessary.

Justice Downs remanded her on bail but said there was every prospect she would face a lengthy prison term when she appeared for sentence in November.

rnz.co.nz

Justice Source: 1 NEWS