New Zealand Nurses Organisation optimistic about DHB negotiations after 'change in attitude'

The New Zealand Nurses Organisation's (NZNO) lead advocate David Wait says he has seen a "change in attitude" from DHBs over the past couple of days which is "encouraging" that a resolution could be reached soon.

Kiwi nurses voted overwhelmingly in favour of striking another three times on July 29-30, August 19 and September 9-10 over poor pay and working conditions.

"I think that's why we are at this breaking point - because for years and years nurses, midwives, health care assistants, all of the health care professionals have held up this health system but it's not possible any more and we really need some support," Wait told The AM Show on Wednesday.

The union had asked for a 17 percent increase, but DHBs offered them a 1.38 percent wage increase originally - below the rate of inflation. However, they revised it last-minute to add on a $4000 lump sum. 

The proposal was overwhelmingly rejected by nurses.

They are also striking over burnout, due to a lack of staff.

"We don't have enough nurses, the DHBs were supposed to have addressed safe staffing by the 1st of July this year but we know that at least half of them have failed to reach that target," Wait said. 

"This is about patient safety and it's also about our members' safety when they are providing that care."

Last week DHBs, the NZNO and an independent mediator entered mediation and the discussion will continue this week.

Wait said he was going into them optimistic.

"We've been in negotiation for over a year now so it's taken a lot longer than we would have expected," he said. 

"We have had mediation last week and will have mediation again next week. We have seen some movement and change in attitude from the DHBs in recent days so we are going into that a little encouraged.

"Where we are right now is we are determined and we are resolute. It's time for us to fix this and that's the clear message from our members."

This comes as Queensland attempts to attract Kiwi nurses across the ditch with a big ad campaign.