National | Andrew Little

Nurse strike lifted after new offer from DHBs

The NZ Nurses' Organisation has lifted its strike notices for later this month after the latest round of talks with the country's district health boards (DHBs).

Nurses, midwives, and healthcare assistants had agreed to further strike action later this month after negotiations had broken down with the DHBs over their pay increase offer.

However, another offer has been made and organisers called off the strike planned for July 29 while the offer is being taken to members to decide whether to accept.

Health Minister Andrew Little says today's announcement is encouraging, and it is now up to the membership to decide.

"I think what it means is we can now focus on the remaining big issues. We've got to get that pay equity claim dealt with," Little says.

"We're now in a position where, I can confidently say, we will have an offer to table in a month. That will allow the bargaining to start on that issue, provided that isn't too protracted."

Little says it could be settled by the end of this year, or the beginning of next year, and says it will cost hundreds of millions of dollars.