Health Minister David Cunliffe says the Health Ministry is taking over responsibility for workforce planning by District Health Boards.
The comment came on Thursday at the first public debate on health involving almost all political parties ahead of the upcoming general election.
The debate took place at a Nurses Organisation conference in Wellington where critical workforce shortages and low pay for some groups emerged as key issues.
The Labour Party's health spokesperson David Cunliffe said in answer to a question that DHBs pinch workers from each other and from the not-for-profit sector.
Mr Cunliffe said from now, on the ministry will be accountable and DHBs will be required to feed in their demand and supply projections for doctors nurses and others to the ministry to better plan workforce needs.
National Party health spokesperson Tony Ryall promised more money for low-paid workers and for hospices but met scepticism with his comments that smarter spending could yield savings in money hungry health.
Greens health spokesperson Sue Kedgley said pay parity for nurses across health is crucial and the Progressive Party's Jim Anderton said debt should be written off for doctors and nurses who stay in New Zealand.