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Budget delivers a mixed bag for nurses and students.

NZNO EXPECTS next year's budget to allocate funds for increases in nurses' wages. Chief executive Geoff Annals said he was not surprised there was no extra money for wage increases in last month's budget announcement. "We are pleased the Government recognises that substantial pay increases would have to come from new spending, though there is no commitment in this budget round to provide that money. We are committed to a constructive dialogue with the Government on how the pay gap can be reduced and how we can improve nurses' wages and conditions."

Annals said there was some good news in the budget. "Cheaper primary care for under 18s, an agreement to focus on low-cost health care for people over 65 and lower prescription fees for young people enrolled in primary health organisations are all heartening signs." NZNO was also pleased the Minister of Disability Ruth Dyson has secured $1 million to go toward developing a national training strategy for care workers. Caregivers were a significantly disadvantaged workforce and NZNO had been campaigning for some time for a national training programme.

NZNO is concerned the new maximum tertiary fee levels--the fee maxima--are well above the fee levels at the majority of the country's nursing schools. "An increase in fees will not attract students to nursing and will increase the debt of nurses who are already shown to be one of the worst disadvantaged groups from the student loan scheme," said Annals.

The Council of Trade Unions' president Ross Wilson said unions looked forward to a budget next year that targeted assistance to people on low incomes.
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Title Annotation:news and events
Publication:Kai Tiaki: Nursing New Zealand
Date:Jun 1, 2003
Words:265
Previous Article:Women need a revolution in workplace.
Next Article:NZNO continues to campaign for nurse/patient ratios.


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