About reducing pay disparities

Many nurses and kaiāwhina working in the community have been earning less than their colleagues working in Te Whatu Ora hospitals and health settings.

In November 2022, the Government announced additional funding to reduce this pay gap with:

  • $40 million being provided between April and June 2023
  • $200 million per annum being provided from 2023/24

The Ministerial decision-making documents about this initiative have been proactively released by Manatū Hauora. See here.

This additional funding was provided to deliver immediate relief to health services most affected by the flow of nurses and kaiāwhina from community-based roles to comparable hospital-based roles, due in part to higher wage rates.

Priority allocation was given to services at greatest risk of service failure and to address equity challenges. The additional $40 million provided in 2022/23 was paid from 1 April 2023 to reduce pay gaps for nurses and kaiāwhina working for:

  • Kaupapa Māori providers
  • Pasifika providers
  • Aged residential care providers
  • Home and community support service providers
  • Hospices

The funding increase to $200 million per annum from 1 July 2023 was to also provide relief to other health services potentially affected by the flow of nurses and kaiāwhina to comparable hospital-based roles, including:

  • General Practice and Urgent Care services (that provided workforce data needed to allocate funding)
  • Mental health and addictions
  • Plunket/Well Child Tamariki Ora
  • Family Planning
  • School based health services
  • Rural hospitals
  • National Telehealth Service
  • Community care services
  • Youth One Stop Shop 


This additional funding is intended to reduce pay gaps for eligible workforces. It will not result in pay parity, which is when there are similar terms and conditions for comparable workforces working for different employers.

It is also not pay equity, which is where women and men receive the same pay for doing jobs that are different, but of equal value. Pay equity requires a claim to be submitted under the Equal Pay Act 1972.

The additional funding is ongoing.

Allocating the funding and setting employee pay rates and other terms and conditions is the responsibility of the employer, subject to good faith bargaining with the relevant employee(s) and relevant unions(s).

Who is eligible

This additional funding is for eligible nurses and kaiāwhina working in the funded sector, who are employed by health care providers that are contracted by the Government to provide health services and have accepted an offer of pay disparity funding.

An eligible worker means a person:

  • employed by a health care provider, whether on a permanent, fixed term, or casual basis (to avoid doubt, this excludes contractors and bureau nurses), as a nurse or a kaiāwhina to provide services under one or more of the provider’s existing agreements; and
  • who is not the subject of a pay equity claim under the Equal Pay Act 1972 as at 1 April 2023 (whether or not that claim has been settled prior to 1 April 2023).


Nurse means an employee working in a nursing role and whose position description or employment agreement or letter of offer requires them to be registered by the Nursing Council of New Zealand, which, to avoid doubt, includes an enrolled nurse.

Kaiāwhina means a person who the health care provider determines has a position description that has 50 percent or more in common with the Te Whatu Ora-employed Health Care Assistant position.

See Downloads for more details.

For more information

Providers that have received offers for additional funding to reduce pay disparity can contact paydisparities@health.govt.nz.

Nurses and kaiāwhina who work for providers that have received offers for additional funding to reduce pay disparity need to contact their employer. Setting pay rates is the responsibility of their employers.