National | Nurses

Pay gap widens for nurses working for Māori providers

As District Health Board nurses celebrate reaching a settlement in pay equity, Māori nurses who choose to work for a Māori health provider are still being paid 25% less.

Māori nurses are at the frontline in the fight against Covid-19in communities across the country but are still paid less than DHB nurses. New Zealand Nurses organisation Kaiwhakahaere Māori Kerri Nuku says that is unfair.

“The gap continues to grow and we have this privileged group that works in district health boards and others who work outside the sector who aren't recognised in this way,” she said.

The pay equity settlement was reached for DHB nurses to get better pay but nurses who work for iwi and health providers are still being paid 25% less.

“We certainly want Māori to be addressed in any settlements moving forward and recognition of the skills and value add that they bring to the sector.”

Associate Health Minister Peeni Henare says pay parity will be addressed under the new Maori Health Authority.

“There's a new world on the horizon. That's the benefit of a Māori health authority. I instructed them to correct this issue. It's nurses for now and later on will be pay parity for Māori health organisations as well."

Despite that, Nuku says they have to keep fighting, “advocating for that change to happen now and commitment to happen now,” she said.

"Māori nurses are desperate for equity as they care for our most vulnerable."