Panel recommends nurses get immediate three per cent pay rise and one-off $2,000 sum

An independent panel assisting with pay negotiations between the nurses' union and district health boards has recommended an immediate three per cent pay rise and a one-off $2,000 payment to employees.

Nurses rejected a two per cent rise in March, claiming they're undervalued, underpaid and overworked.

The panel has also suggested a further three per cent payrise in August, and again in August next year to cover the cost of living.

The union says the recommendations don't go far enough in addressing pay concerns.

"Nurses want to see parity with secondary school teachers, and this offer doesn't enable that until quite late in the piece," says union spokesperson Cee Payne.

The panel's suggestions include an additional two per cent of funding to ensure DHBs have the nursing and midwifery workforce capacity to deliver the required patient services.

This is a recommendation that the New Zealand Nurses Organisation is happy with. 

"This is a significant recommendation and not seen previously for nursing and midwifery," says Payne.

"The difficulty for nurses will be while there's a promise of more nurses to support the current workloads and address the crisis, if we don't do something about the pay immediately, then we're not going to be able to bring nurses across from other countries and retain our own nurses."

NZNO says it has provided district health boards with its response to the recommendations released today.

DHBs will now review recommendations before making an updated offer on Monday.

NZNO has also been taking a secret ballot for further strike action, which closes tomorrow, with the result of that also expected to be announced on Monday. 

Union spokesperson Cee Payne says something needs to be done about nurses pay immediately to attract and retain them. Source: 1 NEWS

Environment Ministry warns against using biodegradable and compostable bags

Your effort to help save the planet from pollution could be doing more harm than good, despite your best intentions. 

For the first time, the Ministry for the Environment is warning Kiwis against using biodegradable and compostable bags. 

"We do not recommend biodegradable plastic bags as they can be more harmful than their non-biodegradable counterparts," the ministry says in a statement.

Associate Environment Minister Eugenie Sage says there's no point in having a biodegradable bag that doesn't break down into things that nature can handle well.

"It's not biodegradable if it breaks into plastics that are a pollution problem,” she says.

Biodegradable is defined as being able to break down in a natural environment, but the ministry says some don't decompose completely and end up as long-lasting microplastics. 

Compostable bags could be a future solution, but the ministry says there's no nationwide infrastructure to process them. 

The official advice is to ditch plastic, biodegradable and compostable bags if they can't be processed properly.

If you need a bag to line you rubbish bin, the Government says use paper or just wash it out after use.

These options can be a bit more messy, but will go some way to reducing our reliance on plastic. 

The Environment Ministry says the greener alternatives may do more harm than good. Source: 1 NEWS


Watch: 'I made a mistake' - Transport Minister Phil Twyford offers to resign for making phone call from plane, says National's Judith Collins raised issue in House

Transport Minister Phil Twyford has offered to resign for making a phone call on a domestic flight after the aircraft doors had shut in preparation for take-off.

Mr Twyford issued a statement today, saying he offered his resignation over the matter but the Prime Minister declined his offer.

As Transport Minister, Mr Twyford should have known better than to make a call after the plane's doors had shut. Source: 1 NEWS

"I recognise that I made the call when I shouldn’t have," Phil Twyford said. "This is inappropriate for anyone, but particularly inappropriate for me as Transport Minister.

"I apologise unreservedly.

"I have apologised to the Prime Minister and offered my resignation as Transport Minister. She has declined my offer but chosen to transfer my responsibility for the Civil Aviation Authority to Associate Transport Minister Julie Anne Genter.

"I have referred the matter to the Civil Aviation Authority who will follow whatever processes they deem appropriate," Phil Twyford said.

Speaking to media at Parliament Mr Twyford revealed that it was National MP Judith Collins who brought the issue before the House and he hadn't given it a moment's thought before she brought it up.

He again gave an unreserved apology while fronting media saying he "made a mistake" and his actions were "unacceptable".

Mr Twyford also revealed the call was made to a staffer and was around one minute long. He didn't reveal the details of the call and why it was so important to make at the time.

The Director of Civil Aviation has received details of the alleged breach and says CAA will examine the facts before deciding what to do next. 

National MP Judith Collins was the one to bring the infringement to Parliament's attention Mr Twyford said. Source: 1 NEWS