Midwives marching for more
DEBBIE JAMIESON AND MARJORIE COOK
Midwives and supporters marched in Queenstown and Wanaka last week, calling for better pay.
Queenstown Lakes Mayor Jim Boult told a crowd of about 100 people in Queenstown that the health service in the area was ‘‘stuffed’’.
‘‘We need better health services generally. We need better pay for midwives. We need a better hospital in our district. They’re not listening to us at present.’’
He had been working to get a meeting with Health Minister David Clark and had secured a date in June.
Queenstown midwife Sharon White led the march with chants of ‘‘One, Two, Three Four, We don’t want to be so poor’’ and ‘‘What do we want? Better pay. When do we want it? Now.’’
She said midwives worked 24 hours a day, seven days a week without additional pay.
‘‘For the midwife this means she leaves her family or home possibly for hours. There will be no morning school run for this midwife’s children this day.’’
Several hundred parents pushed prams and carried babies from the Wanaka Skate Park to the Dinosaur playground to show their solidarity for rural midwives.
The march was organised by first year Wanaka midwifery students Emily Sanchos and Elise Burkevics, to support the Dear David campaign and petition to parliament, and to call for pay equity.
‘‘Wanaka is rural so we have lead maternity carers here and right now we have only one full time midwife and we need at least six to cover the 200 births that we will probably have in Wanaka this year.
‘‘The new co-design payment structure will change the funding for LMC and rural midwives so it is more sustainable.
‘‘LMCs working rurally at the moment will earn about $7.23 after expenses, are on call 24-7, and there’s no way they can be funded for all the extra things.‘‘
Midwife Sharon White led 100 protestors through Queenstown.
Wanaka parents march in support of midwives.