Kiwi nurses to march on parliament for pay

·2-min read

New Zealand's health minister will confront hundreds of striking nurses on Wednesday when the disgruntled workers march on Parliament.

Kiwi nurses have turned down the latest pay offer from Jacinda Ardern's government, leading to industrial action.

The New Zealand Nurses Organisation (NZNO) says it has rejected a offer to increase wages 1.38 per cent, which equates to a real wage cut.

"It's pretty outrageous," Glenda Alexander, NZNO industrial officer told Three.

"Our members are very determined. They're not going to give up this time."

The deal also included a $NZ4000 ($A3729) lump sum payment from a pay equity claim.

The union is the latest organisation to vent fury at Ms Ardern's government, which is seeking to enforce wage restraint across the public sector.

The government's wage sector guidance issued earlier this year was to target any pay increases to the poorest 25 per cent in order to tackle inequality.

Ms Ardern said she did want to see nurses wages rise, but couldn't meet current demands.

"At the moment nurses have put an offer that is more like 17 per cent," she said.

"We're just not in the position to meet those expectations.

"In these COVID times it is tough. So what we've tried to do is really focus in on an offer that really lifts those on the lowest pay bands."

The impasse means on Wednesday, nurses will stand down from non-essential roles at hospitals and primary health providers for eight hours.

Dozens of public actions have been organised, with major marches along the main streets of Auckland and Wellington expected to gather thousands.

Health Minister Andrew Little has promised to listen to their concerns on Parliament's forecourt.

"I've been invited to do so and I said 'I'll be there'," he said.