Te Whatu Ora is working as quickly as possible to implement new pay rates for more than 30,000 Te Whatu Ora employed nurses following a milestone agreement on pay equity.


The agreement negotiated between Te Whatu Ora, New Zealand Nurses Organisation (NZNO), and the Public Service Association (PSA) was approved by nurses following a vote this week.   


“This is a fantastic outcome for our nurses,” says Chief Executive, Fepulea'i Margie Apa.


“The new pay rates will be back dated to 07 March 2022, providing another pay equity pay increase of 6.5% for Senior Nurses, and 4.5% for Registered Nurses, Enrolled Nurses, Health Care Assistants and Mental Health Care Assistants. 


“Senior Nurses will earn between $105,704 and $153,060 per annum full time, plus penal rates and Registered Nurses will earn between $69,566 and $99,630 per annum full time, plus penal rates.


“In addition, all Te Whatu Ora employed Health Care Assistants and Nurses will receive up to a further $15,000 lump sum payment in recognition of prior work.”


This agreement comes after Te Whatu Ora last year applied proactively to the Employment Relations Authority to be able to make interim pay equity pay increases to its nurses.


The settlement is on top of the agreed in principle pay equity rates paid earlier this year and backdated to 7 March 2022 – increasing pay for most nurses by more than 14%, and the $10,000 lump sum payment (pro-rated) already part paid.


Since 2017, pay equity increases and collective bargaining increases have raised the starting salary for new graduate nurses by 40.7% and the salary for registered nurses at the top of their scale by 49.2%.


“Given our shared aspirations for the health system, I’m delighted Te Whatu Ora nurses have agreed with the settlement of their claim for pay equity that resolves a historic problem and now allows us to concentrate even more on improving health service delivery in our communities.”


The commitment to our nursing workforce does not end with pay equity, we’re focused on what more we can do to ease the pressure on nurses. 

Addressing workforce pressures across the entire health sector is a top priority for Te Whatu Ora and there is significant work underway in this space. This work goes beyond pay equity and includes training, recruitment and retention, and funding models. We know this is working with the number of nurses registered to practice in New Zealand growing to around 2000 in the last quarter.

“We know that we are not there yet. We know our health workforce is under strain and has been since COVID-19 arrived on our shores. We are still grappling with the impact COVID-19 has had on our system, including on planned care and on our frontline staffing – and we have a global shortage of health workers, which has increased pressure on our workforce over recent years.”


“We’re focused on what we can do today to make our nurses’ lives easier, and how we can grow numbers across all our health workforces over time.”





Media contact:

Kelly Mitchell,  Principal Media Advisor

Phone 021 957 436 or hnzmedia@health.govt.nz