22 Aug 2009

Government accused of ignoring pay rate proposal

9:48 am on 22 August 2009

The Nurses Organisation is accusing the Government of ignoring a unanimous recommendation from Parliament's health select committee.

The committee, dominated by National Party MPs, supports the formation of a working party to investigate why Maori healthcare workers' pay rates lag behind the mainstream health workforce.

Nurses Organisation chief executive Geoff Annals says it seems Health Minister Tony Ryall has refused to back this recommendation.

He says there is a fundamental issue of equity and fairness and is urging the Government to reconsider, and support a meeting of all the parties involved.

Palmerston North MP Iain Lees-Galloway says Associate Health Minister and Maori Party co-leader Tariana Turia has not been able to influence the Government to form the working party.

He says Ms Turia has also been ineffective over the health issue of tobacco displays, and it is time for the Maori Party and the Government to demonstrate that their support agreement is not just for show.

Ms Turia dismissed the assertion, saying Mr Lees-Galloway is simply grandstanding. She says the Maori Party has advanced many issues.

The Health Minister was not available for comment on Friday.