"NZ nurses deserve more" - Thousands protest in streets

By Leah Te Whata

Thousands of nurses are rallying around the country in protest of their working conditions. Nurses gathered from midday today across fifteen cities to mark International Nurses Day and hold protests.

New Zealand nurses have taken the fight for better pay and working conditions to the streets, this time, they're not backing down.

"We're tired, we've had enough and now we're saying be fair, come on be fair to those who care."

"Understaffed, underpaid and really struggling and really wanting to do a good job."

Rain didn't deter protesters, but it is flu season and with possible strike action on the cards, nurses are anxiously awaiting the independent panel's report into nurses pay.

"Treat nurses better, it'll attract more to the profession which takes care of our staffing levels."

Nurses claim there are chronic understaffing issues, missed breaks, and unpaid overtime, these were among the issues highlighted at today's protests.

"I'd be ringing my husband at 11 o'clock at night saying I'm staying for another 8 hours because there's no staff to cover."

"I remember as a new grad nurse being anxious and nervous coming into work. My colleague said she fell sick before she came to work because she was scared, scared because there was no staff."

Health Minister David Clarke says, "There's no doubt that Health was underfunded by the previous government. That's left nurses and other health workers feeling under-valued and under-resourced.

Nurses have a vital role in helping this Government to achieve its plans for better access to quality healthcare for New Zealanders.

The upcoming Budget will demonstrate our commitment to increased funding for health, and a sustainable approach to workforce planning."