The New Zealand Nurses Organisation says the decision of the Waitangi Tribunal to accept a claim lodged about the pay disparity suffered by Māori women public servants is a chance to also address inequities in the nursing workforce.
Kaiwhakahaere Kerri Nuku says nurses see that difference every day, not just in pay and employment but also in access to acceptable health services and health outcomes.
She says it’s a chance to look at the gap not only within the public service but between nurses working for district health boards and those working for Māori or community providers.
"That gap is unacceptable especially when you have to have the same qualifications and skills. So how do we role model that nursing is a great job to be in, how do we role model that our care and our work is valued when there is this clear distinction between payment and also the resources to do the job well," Ms Nuku says.
The claim is part of a struggle to restore the role and rangatiratanga of Māori women that has been eroded over time.