Independent panel approves Papakura to Pukekōhe rail upgrade

Source: Environmental Protection Authority

30 July 2021

An expert consenting panel has cleared the way for Auckland metro rail services to be improved between Papakura and Pukekōhe.

The Kalampag Tracking Agency: Screening Programme & Panel Discussion

The Kalampag Tracking Agency: Screening Programme & Panel Discussion

Source: Auckland Council

Miko Revereza, DROGA!, 2014 (still). Super 8 transferred to HD. Black & white, sound. 7 mins 21 secs. Courtesy of the artist.

Roxlee, Juan Gapang, 1987 (still). Super 8 transferred to HD. Courtesy of the artist.

Join us at Te Tuhi for a special screening of The Kalampag Tracking Agency: 30 Years of Experimental Film & Video from the Philippines, followed by a Zoom discussion between Philippines-based The Kalampag Tracking Agency co-curators Merv Espina and Shireen Seno, with curator of Te Tuhi’s current exhibition The Inner Lives of Islands Robbie Handcock.

The Kalampag Tracking Agency screening programme overcomes institutional and personal lapses to give attention to little-seen works – some quite recent, some surviving loss and decomposition.

The programme collects loose parts in motion, a series of bangs, or kalampag in Tagalog, each work chosen for its individual strengths and how as a collection they might resonate off each other, for a contemporary audience.

Featuring some of the most striking video work from the Philippines and its diaspora, the initiative continues to navigate the uncharted topographies of Filipino alternative and experimental moving image practice.

The screening programme includes works by artists Cesar Hernando, Eli Guieb III & Jimbo Albano; John Torres; Jon Lazam; Martha Atienza; Melchor Bacani III; Miko Revereza; Ramon Jose ‘RJ’ Leyran; Raya Martin; Roxlee; Tad Ermitaño; Tito & Tita; Yason Banal.

The Kalampag Tracking Agency screening programme is presented alongside The Inner Lives of Islands exhibition curated by Robbie Handcock.

The artists in the programme and exhibition share sympathetic vantage points on the relationship between personal and national identities, interrogating their own selves and their contexts.

Light refreshments will be served. Nau mai, haere mai.

Back to Events

Update: Missing 17-year-old Caitlin Blanch

Update: Missing 17-year-old Caitlin Blanch

Source: New Zealand Police (District News)

Police and the family of missing Clyde teenager Caitlin Blanch are urging her to make contact so we know she is safe.

Caitlin was last reported to be seen hopping off the school bus at around 8am on Tuesday, 27 July.

“We just want to know she is safe. Reach out to us, make contact and let us know you are safe,” a family spokesperson says.

“It doesn’t matter who you contact, family or friends, it can be anybody. We just want to know you are safe, that’s all we care about,” a family spokesperson says.

Police and LandSAR volunteers from the Otago area have been searching and making a number of extensive enquiries into her whereabouts.

This has involved additional searching around the edges of Alexandra and speaking with residents in the area.

Despite incredible support from our search teams, and the public, we have exhausted all viable search area options at this time.

While the physical search has been suspended, Police continue to identify and follow-up new lines of enquiry into Caitlin’s whereabouts including if she has travelled outside of Alexandra. We believe Caitlin could be in the greater Otago area or beyond. At this time, there is nothing to suggest there is any foul play.

We continue to have regular contact with Caitlin’s family and have advised them of this.

They understand that we won’t hesitate to initiate further physical searches as new information comes to hand.

Caitlin’s family and Police are extremely concerned for her welfare and we want to make sure she is safe. We are urging Caitlin to make contact with us and continue to appeal for information from the public to help us locate her.

Caitlin is described as being of medium build, 175cm tall, and is believed to be wearing a black jacket with fur trim, the beanie as pictured, black jeans, black boots and a dark green jersey.

Anyone who has seen Caitlin or has information about her whereabouts or wellbeing is urged to call Police on 105, quoting file number 210728/6065.

ENDS

Issued by Police Media Centre

Hawke’s Bay Police warn of continued heavy vehicle battery thefts

Hawke's Bay Police warn of continued heavy vehicle battery thefts

Source: New Zealand Police (District News)

Hawke’s Bay Police are still seeing a rise in the number of heavy vehicle batteries being stolen in recent months.

Over the past few months there have been 19 reports of heavy vehicle batteries being stolen from orchards, commercial businesses and rural properties in Napier, and 13 reports in Hastings.

Acting Detective Sergeant Stephen Leonard says people should make an effort to record the make, model and size of their batteries.

“Making these batteries difficult for thieves to get to by parking your vehicles in a secure place or in a well-lit area is the best thing to do.

“But if you can’t do that, then marking the battery in some way to make it identifiable and hard for thieves to get off is the next best thing.”

Sergeant Leonard says this can be done with colourful spray paint, or even engraving the plastic outer of the battery with an engraver or a soldering iron.

Other security options for people to consider include installing CCTV or wireless alert systems which can activate an alarm in your house to alert you that someone is in your shed by alarm or light sensors.

These devices are highly effective and can even work in areas across some distance, where there is no cell coverage.

There are also satellite GPS devices available that can be installed covertly on items such as quad bikes and other machinery which can be tracked if they get stolen.

Satellite devices also do not require cell coverage to track.

ENDS

Police Media Centre

New community-led gallery now open at Auckland Museum

New community-led gallery now open at Auckland Museum

Source: Auckland Council

As the renewal of its public spaces nears completion, Tāmaki Paenga Hira Auckland Museum has opened a new gallery designed to help Auckland communities share their stories.

Located in the space formerly occupied by the Museum Store in the Grand Foyer, Te Taunga Community Hub provides a space for long-term engagement with the diverse communities of Tāmaki Makaurau.

The first exhibition in Te Taunga Community Hub gallery is Te Mekameka O Toku Ipukarea: The Treasures of my Homeland, presented by Akatokamanava Enua Community of Tāmaki Makaurau, Auckland’s Cook Islands Mauke community. Akatokamanava Enua Community also gifted the name of the exhibition to the museum.

Visitors are able to experience the story of the Mauke people through the eyes of the community itself, rather than through the museum’s interpretation.

By sharing their personal stories, members of the community describe how their taonga reflects their heritage and culture, past and present.

The Akatokamanava Enua Community is the first of a series of communities that Te Taunga Community Hub will host over the next two years.

The Sudanese community of New Zealand will follow the Mauke group as the next programmers of the community hub space.

Head of Learning and Public Programmes Kath McGhie says the concept for the new gallery reflects the museum’s aspiration to be a place of belonging, welcome and celebration for all Aucklanders.

“We have created a space where the welcome of a particular community is vital in authentic storytelling about their culture and identity,” she says.

“It places the community first. Leading the stories of their history in their own voice is crucial to indigenisation; connecting communities with their taonga that is the larger story we’re telling at the museum,” says McGhie.

Every item on display in Te Mekameka O Toku Ipukarea: The Treasures of my Homeland has been chosen by the community to tell their story, from the treasures themselves, to the labels, the signage, the music and the lighting.

“It’s emotional for me watching the Mauke community make these interpretive choices and supporting them to ensure we tell their story how they want their story told,” says McGhie.

“They’ve moved beyond programming activations and thinking about display angles of taonga to adding photographs of their knowledge holders on the labels, which makes the whole experience even more personal to the community.”

On Saturday 7 August, the Akatokamanava Enua community will be leading their own craft and music activations under the Tanoa in Te Ao Mārama from 10.30am to 2.15pm.

Visitors will experience live performance-based demonstrations of dance, vivo (nose flute) and To’i Rakau (wood carving) against a musical backdrop in a space that is dedicated to cultural welcome.

Entry to the exhibition is free for Aucklanders. Non-residents pay the museum’s admission fee.

Auckland overnight motorway closures 1–7 August 2021

Source: New Zealand Transport Agency

Waka Kotahi NZ Transport Agency advises of the following closures for motorway improvements. Work delayed by bad weather will be completed at the next available date, prior to Friday, 6 August 2021 Please note this traffic bulletin is updated every Friday.

Check daily updated closure information: www.nzta.govt.nz/traffic/auckland(external link)

Unless otherwise stated, closures start at 9pm and finish at 5am.

NORTHERN MOTORWAY (SH1)

  • Northbound lanes between Oteha Valley Road off-ramp and Silverdale on-ramp, 1,2 & 4 August (approx. 10:00pm to 5:00am)
  • Northbound lanes between Greville Road off-ramp and Silverdale on-ramp, 3 August
  • Oteha Valley Road northbound on-ramp, 1-4 August
  • Greville Road southbound off-ramp, 1-2 August
  • Greville Road southbound on-ramp, 1-5 August
  • Greville Road northbound on-ramp, 3 August
  • Stafford Road northbound off-ramp, 1 August
  • Curran Street northbound on-ramp, 1 August
  • Shelly Beach Road southbound off-ramp, 3 August

CENTRAL MOTORWAY JUNCTION (CMJ)

  • Southbound lanes between Fanshawe Street off-ramp and Hobson Street on-ramp, 5 August (approx. 10:00pm to 5:00am)
  • SH1 southbound to SH16(Port) link, 5 August (approx. 10:00pm to 5:00am)
  • SH1 southbound to SH16 westbound link, 5 August (approx. 10:00pm to 5:00am)
  • SH16 eastbound to SH16(Port) link, 5 August (approx. 10:00pm to 5:00am)
  • SH16 eastbound to SH1 southbound link, 5 August (approx. 10:00pm to 5:00am)
  • Northbound lanes between Symonds Street off-ramp and Fanshawe Street on-ramp, 2 August (approx. 10:30pm to 5:00am)
  • SH1 northbound to SH16 westbound link, 2 August (approx. 10:30pm to 5:00am)
  • Wellington Street northbound on-ramp, 2 August
  • SH16 eastbound to SH1 northbound link, 2 August (approx. 10:30pm to 5:00am)
  • Nelson Street eastbound off-ramp, 2 August (approx. 10:30pm to 5:00am)
  • Westbound lanes between Stanley Street off-ramp and Hobson Street, 2 August (approx. 10:30pm to 5:00am)
  • Wellesley Street East westbound on-ramp, 2 August
  • Grafton Road southbound on-ramp, 2 August (approx. 9:00pm to 5:00am)
  • SH16(Port) to SH1 southbound link, 2 August (approx. 10:00pm to 5:00am)
  • SH16(Port) to SH1 northbound link, 2 August (approx. 10:30pm to 5:00am)
  • SH1 northbound to SH16(Port) link, 1 & 3-4 August (approx. 10:00pm to 5:00am)
  • Symonds Street northbound off-ramp, 1 & 3-4 August (approx. 10:00pm to 5:00am)
  • Westbound lanes between Stanley Street off-ramp and Wellesley Street East on-ramp, 3 August (approx. 10:00pm to 5:00am)

SOUTHERN MOTORWAY (SH1)

  • Tecoma Street southbound on-ramp, 2 August (approx. 8:00pm to 5:00am)
  • Northbound lanes between Drury/SH22 off-ramp and Papakura on-ramp, 1-5 August
  • Drury/SH22 northbound on-ramp, 1-5 August
  • SH1 southbound to SH2 eastbound link, 5 August

NORTHWESTERN MOTORWAY (SH16)

  • Royal Road southbound on-ramp, 3 August
  • Te Atatu northbound off-ramp, 1-3 August (approx. 10:00pm to 5:00am)
  • Rosebank Road northbound off-ramp, 4 August

UPPER HARBOUR MOTORWAY (SH18)

  • Albany Highway westbound on-ramp, 3 August

SOUTHWESTERN MOTORWAY (SH20)

  • Neilson Street northbound off-ramp, 3 August
  • Walmsley Road southbound on-ramp, 5 August
  • Northbound lanes between Massey Road off-ramp and SH20A westbound link, 4 August (approx. 10:00pm to 5:00am)
  • Massey Road northbound on-ramp, 4 August (approx. 9:00pm to 5:00am)
  • Northbound lanes between Cavendish Drive off-ramp and Massey Road on-ramp, 1-3 August (approx. 10:00pm to 5:00am)
  • Cavendish Drive northbound on-ramp, 1-3 August
  • Puhinui Road southbound off-ramp, 5 August
  • Puhinui Road northbound on-ramp, 1-3 August
  • Northbound link between Cavendish Drive and Puhinui Road, 5 August

GEORGE BOLT MEMORIAL DRIVE (SH20A)

  • None planned

PUHINUI ROAD (SH20B)

  • None planned

STATE HIGHWAY 22 (SH22)

  • None planned

STATE HIGHWAY 2 (SH2)

None planned

Please follow the signposted detours. Waka Kotahi thanks you for your co-operation during these essential improvements and maintenance.

To check for the most current overnight closure information please visit www.nzta.govt.nz/traffic/auckland(external link) before you leave.

Auckland roads and public transport:  www.at.govt.nz(external link)

Communities backed to tackle wilding pines

Communities backed to tackle wilding pines

Source: New Zealand Government

Twelve community projects across New Zealand will receive a share of $2 million to carry out wilding pine control, Biosecurity Minister Damien O’Connor announced as part of Biosecurity Week.

“Wilding pines are a serious problem that threaten many of the unique landscapes that New Zealanders value. Community groups and trusts on the ground can play a vital role in preventing the spread and reducing the damage caused by these invasive plants,” Damien O’Connor said.

“Local people are passionate about controlling wilding pines and we want to empower them.”

Community groups and trusts had the opportunity to apply for the Community Partnership Projects Fund to support wilding pine control in areas that complement the national programme’s current control operations.

 34 applications from ten regions across New Zealand were received, with proposals totalling over $6 million.

“The quality of the applications was impressive and the strong response to the call for applications clearly shows New Zealanders’ understanding of the issue, and passion within communities to control wilding pines before they overtake treasured landscapes and culturally significant sites.

“The successful applications include projects on Aotea Great Barrier Island, Banks Peninsula, and areas around Lake Taupō, to prevent further spread of wilding pines and in some cases support native plant regeneration.”

“Biosecurity Week is about raising awareness and highlighting ways New Zealanders can work together to protect both our precious natural flora and the land we use to grow vital food and fibre. Funding these wilding pine projects aligns strongly with that vision.”

The National Wilding Conifer Control programmes success to date has been centred on partnership, long-term relationships and collaborations nationally, regionally and locally – that’s what it takes to tackle a problem like this,” Damien O’Connor said.

ENDS

Information on the community partnership projects that will receive funding. More details will be available once individual funding agreements are in place.

Region/District

Project name

Group/Trust

Northland

Te Orewai Te Horo Trust Wilding pine control      

Te Orewai Te Horo Trust

Auckland

Aotea Great Barrier Wilding pines project

Motairehe Marae

Bay of Plenty

Ruawāhia/Tarawera Wilding Pine Control Project

Ruawāhia 2B Trust

Bay of Plenty

Wilding conifer control in the Kaharoa Conservation Area

Kaharoa Kokako Trust

Waikato

Tauhara Maunga

Tongariro Natural History Society Incorporated

Waikato

Waihaha Catchment and Lake Taupō Shore Reserves

Tongariro Natural History Society Incorporated

Waikato

Orakei Korako, Red Hill and Tutukau Forest

Ngāti Tahu – Ngāti Whaoa Runanga Trust

Marlborough

Awatere & The Ned/ Te Hau

South Marlborough Landscape Restoration Trust

Tasman

Wilding Pines Control on Takaka Hill

Takaka Hill Biodiversity Group Trust

Canterbury

Banks Peninsula Wilding Pine Control

Banks Peninsula Wilding Pine Advisory Group

Otago

Kakanui Mountains

Central Otago Wilding Conifer Control Group Inc.

Otago

Maungatua/Mill Creek

Central Otago Wilding Conifer Control Group Inc.

Relevant links

Strategy document – https://www.wildingconifers.org.nz/national-programme/

Website: www.wildingpines.nz

Local Government – Temporary facilities closures due to toxic mould

Source: MIL-OSI Submissions

Source: Hutt City Council

Hutt City Council Chief Executive Jo Miller has temporarily closed the Hardwick Smith Lounge in Belmont and the first floor of the Petone Library building due to the health and safety risk to staff and users from toxic mould. The Petone Library remains open, with additional health and safety measures in place.
A mid-week inspection of both facilities found toxic mould and high moisture levels and a decision was made to close them immediately, as a precautionary measure while further inspections are undertaken.
Petone Library and other staff have been informed. The library building’s first floor comprises a number of offices, meeting rooms, reception area and store rooms. The library ground floor has been checked and is considered safe for staff and the community to continue to occupy.
“The health and safety of our staff and community members who use these community venues is of paramount importance, which is why we took immediate action,” says Jo Miller.
“We were planning to undertake remedial work at Petone library later in the year to address the water tightness of the building. We will now bring these works forward.
The technical advice received is that anybody concerned about their health because of potential toxic mould exposure should see a medical professional.
The users of both facilities are being advised and offered alternative venues for meetings, activities and functions.
Further information can be found here:

Canterbury researchers funded to tackle child health challenges

Canterbury researchers funded to tackle child health challenges

Source: University of Canterbury

30 July 2021

University of Canterbury researchers are leading innovative studies to research and improve child health in Aotearoa New Zealand.

A Better Start, one of the country’s 11 National Science Challenges, and Cure Kids, New Zealand’s largest national child health research charity, are co-funding the new $4 million projects, which are all aimed at making a real-world difference for tamariki and their whānau.

The research projects are centred on three key research areas – healthy weight, mental health and resilience, and early learning and literacy – and all focus on equitable outcomes for Māori and Pasifika children.

The prevalence of autism has markedly increased recently with estimates suggesting 1 in 59 people are on the autism spectrum. Service demand exceeds capacity in many regions, with lengthy waitlists and an unmet need for culturally appropriate support.

Children on the autism spectrum demonstrate challenges in communication, behaviour and learning and, along with their caregivers, are at greater risk for mental health conditions. Access to early intervention and support that optimises caregiver mental health and children’s development is critical in mitigating these risks.

This project, led Associate Professor Laurie McLay of the University of Canterbury, will investigate the benefit of evidence-based interventions to improve child learning and behaviour and adult wellbeing – delivered by way of telehealth (using information communication technology).

Researchers will evaluate whether the integrate both web-based content and online virtual coaching interventions have an impact on social communication and behaviour and caregiver mental health and wellbeing, and also the acceptability of these approaches for Māori and Pasifika.

This new model of telehealth-delivered, parallel parent/child intervention could transform the way services are delivered for children with autism, and increase timely access to critical support for families who otherwise face long waits, resulting in collateral gains across many aspects of child and family functioning.

  • University of Canterbury Professor John Everatt is leading the project: ‘Phonics instruction for teachers to help children learn literacy’ 

Present research involves interventions that can be implemented by teachers to enhance literacy and improve wellbeing.

These procedures were developed in previous research and found to be effective to support acquisition of literacy in primary school children. Trained Research Assistants provided that intervention, whereas in this project, primary school teachers will be trained to implement the intervention, to examine whether the same positive results can be obtained.

Literacy difficulties can affect all areas of education, reducing achievement and restricting job opportunities. Difficulties during the initial years of school can damage self-concept and cause behavioural problems. Although literacy learning difficulties are found across all groups, there is a greater incidence among students from lower socio-economic backgrounds and individuals from non-majority or immigrant backgrounds, particularly if their primary language differs from the language used in education.

This research, led by Professor John Everatt from the University of Canterbury, focuses on ways to support development of reading and writing, using a culturally responsive intervention to reduce the negative impact that poor educational experiences have on children’s wellbeing.

The project will help children to develop word-decoding skills and vocabulary, and provide strategies that motivate children to read text suitable for their chronological age. The research will measure whether engagement and experiences of success improve self-concept and self-efficacy, reduce negative behaviours, and increase resilience.

The research will focus on children in later primary school years who have experienced literacy learning difficulties.

  • UC academic Dr Matt Hobbs is also part of the research team conducting the ‘Geospatial study of environmental effects on mental health of children’ 

Mental health is one of the biggest health challenges facing New Zealand. One in four NZ young people will experience a mental health issue before they turn 18 years old. Inequities in mental health issues and care are persistent and worsening, with Māori and Pasifika over-represented.

The determinants of mental health are multiple and complex, and increasingly the influence of the environment in which young people grow up is the subject of research to better understand mental health.

Nicholas Bowden of the University of Otago is leading this study, which aims to understand the interplay between mental health and the environments in which NZ young people grow up. More specifically, it seeks to determine whether young people have better mental health if they grow up in areas with more ready access to healthy environmental features such as green and blue spaces (e.g. parks and rivers), compared to unhealthy environmental features such as gaming venues, takeaway shops, and liquor outlets.

The study also aims to empower communities to advocate for change (e.g. support positions concerning liquor licence submissions and preservation of natural spaces), inform policy processes and interventions to improve health-enhancing environments, and inform subsequent research to develop culturally specific environmental measures to reflect health-enhancing environments for Māori and Pasifika.

The diverse and dynamic group of researchers undertaking this research has wide-ranging relationships with policy makers, health providers, and community groups that will be crucial to ensure the research has its intended impact of improving the mental health of young people in NZ.

About A Better Start and Cure Kids funding

The A Better Start and Cure Kids contestable funding round was launched in November 2020 to seek research proposals that would lead to better ways to promote healthy weight, improve early literacy, and help improve mental health and resilience in children and young people. This is the second time Cure Kids and A Better Start have collaborated to create a contestable funding round – in 2017 they funded 10 child health research projects to a total of $2.8 million.

Health Minister Andrew Little responding to the New Zealand Nurses Organisation’s rejection of the latest pay offer

Communities backed to tackle wilding pines

Source: New Zealand Government

I was advised last night that the result of the ballot of Tōpūtanga Tapuhi Kaitiaki o Aotearoa New Zealand Nurses Organisation members have rejected the latest proposal to settle their collective agreement.

Let me be clear: the proposal was one they put to the Government. The Nurses Organisation rejected their own proposal.

This morning I want to confirm the details of the proposal and reaffirm the Government’s commitments to nurses – and to all New Zealanders who are dependent on their care – to improve conditions for nurses.

Above all else I want to say this: I have heard what nurses say about their working lives.

They have told me how the combination of working on short-staffed shifts, extra hours and constantly having to deal with the high numbers of patients (especially in emergency departments) has made their job more stressful than ever.

On top of this, commitments on safe staffing and pay equity made between nurses and District Health Boards (DHBs) three years ago have yet to be fully honoured.

The Government acknowledges the distress and despair these circumstances are causing, and we are committed to fixing it.

The latest pay offer puts an extra $13,000 over the next year alone in the pockets of every full-time employee covered by the collective agreement – with more to come when the pay-equity claim is settled.

The pay component of the offer is in two parts.

The first part of the proposal nurses voted on was to lift base pay-rates by $1800 a year – plus a lump-sum payment of $1200. These amounts are within the current public sector guidelines.

The second part was an advance on the settlement of the pay-equity claim, a $4000-a-year pay rise and a lump-sum payment of $6000.

Together, that adds up to a $5800-a-year pay rise and a lump-sum payment of $7200 – altogether, $13,000 over the next year.

The lump sums would have been paid as soon as practicable following ratification.

As I said, the most significant component of the proposal just voted on was the advance on the pay equity settlement. The reality is progressing the pay equity claim is the top priority.

In recent months, I have been driving the government machine hard to get a pay-equity offer on the table.

The process of evaluating nurses’ jobs and finding comparable jobs to benchmark them to is complicated. It has taken longer than either the DHBs or the Nurses Organisation expected when they started the job three years ago.

The Nurses Organisation, along with other unions, has been engaged at every step of the way so far.

This offer on pay equity will be worth hundreds of millions of dollars a year and we must get it right.

I can tell you that officials from a number of government departments and agencies are fully committed to completing the technical work so that Cabinet can confirm a mandate in a few weeks for negotiations to begin.

There is nothing – and I need to make this crystal clear – nothing I can do to speed up the process even more.

The $408 million pay proposal that nurses rejected would have make a real difference to their bank accounts now, and – subject to negotiations – we should deliver true pay equity later this year or by early next year.

The Nurses Organisation acknowledges the latest pay offer is “promising” and says members are now mainly concerned about safe staffing levels.

The Government and DHBs committed to safe staffing levels through CCDM (Care Capacity Demand Management) three years ago. Implementation was due for completion across all DHBs by 30 June this year. This has not happened, and I acknowledge that.

The Nurses Organisation has described the clause in the offer relating to safe staffing “vague”. This is surprising, given it was developed by their own negotiating team.

The safe-staffing clause includes:

  • A Ministerial investigation into why the safe-staffing agreement reached in 2008 has been fully implemented at only 10 of the 20 district health boards.
  • $5 million to make sure CCDM is rolled out at the other 10 DHBs. As I said earlier, we have already funded an extra 3000 nurse positions, and need to make sure CCDM is fully in place in every DHB.
  • Thirdly, a joint recruitment campaign between the Ministry of Health and the Nurses Organisation to fill the 1450 nurse vacancies across the country.
  • A commitment to ensuring Variable Response Management is considered as part of CCDM. That means having additional nurses on shift available for immediate deployment when unforeseen workload pressures arise.

The Nurses Organisation has expressed concern about accountability where the employer falls short in meeting staffing requirements. I make three points about this:
Firstly, the commitments on CCDM are already enforceable commitments, and therefore there is an accountability mechanism for it. The Nurses Organisation has so far taken no enforcement or compliance action in relation to these commitments;

  • Secondly, the original proposal from the Nurses Organisation on this point would have entitled them to refer every incidence of a short-staffed shift to the Employment Relations Authority or the Employment Court. That is a process that would take months each time; it wouldn’t fix the problem on that shift; and it would be impractical;
  • Thirdly, the Nurses Organisation agreed to an alternative which was to work on a practical way of obtaining accountability that was timely and meaningful.

The Nurses Organisation says strikes planned for the 19th of August and the 9th and 10th of September will now go ahead unless an “acceptable” offer is made.

These strikes would be hugely disruptive to public health services, and to the people who need them.

The health system is already under pressure from a global pandemic and the winter ‘flu season.

The Government believes the proposal to settle the collective agreement addresses all the issues Nurses Organisation has raised in negotiations and was realistic and practical – especially when you consider we are just weeks away from making an offer on pay equity worth hundreds of millions of dollars.

To nurses I say I remain committed to seeing you are paid what you deserve and have safe conditions to work in – including properly staffing the health system.

The focus now, however, must be on settling the pay-equity claim, and that is where the Government’s attention will now be.