NZ Election 2020: NZ Nurses Organisation 'disappointed' Jacinda Ardern, Judith Collins didn't know nurse's starting salary

The New Zealand Nurses Organisation (NZNO) says it's "disappointed" in Jacinda Ardern and Judith Collins after neither knew how much a new nurse earns.

The leaders of Labour and National were asked during a quickfire round during The Press Leaders Debate on Tuesday night what the starting salary for registered nurses is. Neither was able to pinpoint the correct answer - $54,000.

Thousands of nurses have taken part in repeated strikes over pleas for better pay, which got the attention of politicians. And with nurses also working through the COVID-19 pandemic, NZNO Kaiwhakahaere Kerri Nuku said the leaders not knowing their starting salary was a "what the heck" moment.

"The role of nurses through COVID-19 has been really key to keeping this virus at bay. To not know the starting wages of nurses - it was really disappointing."

Also during the quickfire round at the debate, Ardern and Collins couldn't correctly guess a teacher's starting salary ($49,000). They did, however, know the price of Netflix's cheapest package ($11.99).

Neither knew the cost of two litres of milk or the price of a two-kilogram leg of lamb.

Ardern said the milk costs $4.50 and Collins said $6, when it's actually $3.40, according to the debate's moderator. On the leg of lamb, Collins said $28 and Ardern said $20, but instead the correct answer was $42.

Following the debate, neither leader would declare themselves the winner.

"I never declare winners - that's ultimately for the viewers," Ardern said.

"I think that politics won. I thought we both did very well," Collins said.