Health Minister David Clark says there is no more money to offer nurses after their 24-hour strike ended this morning.
Source: 1 NEWS
Nurses returned to work this morning after a 24-hour strike over staffing shortages and pay came to an end.
Up to 30,000 nurses walked of the job yesterday in what was the first national nurses' strike in three decades, with crowds of nurses hitting the streets to protest the district health boards' latest pay offer.
Speaking today, Dr Clark said it was "time to take a pause" for nurses and District Health Boards (DHBs) after strike action.
"Both sides need time to reflect before returning to negotiations."
He said the contingency planning was effective and despite media comments, there were no more staff in hospitals during strike action.
Dr Clark reiterated that there was no more money on the table to break the deadlock.
"That is the offer."
He thanked DHBs, staff and unions for focus on patient safety during strike action.
Meanwhile, the nurses' union has warned its members that balloting for further strike action may be needed.
A member of the union's negotiating team, Lesley Harry, says on the union's website that if the government and DHBs refuse to provide extra money for an acceptable settlement then balloting for further strike action "will likely be necessary".
Lesley Harry declined to be interviewed about the comments.