PM lauds ‘value’ of health­care work­ers

Marlborough Express - - FRONT PAGE -

Prime Min­is­ter Jacinda Ardern says she ex­pe­ri­enced first­hand the value of the health­care work­force dur­ing her time in Auck­land City Hospi­tal.

Ardern and her part­ner, Clarke Gay­ford, wel­comed their first child on Thurs­day af­ter­noon.

The pair yes­ter­day held a brief press con­fer­ence with their new­born daugh­ter, where they re­vealed her name: Neve Te Aroha Ardern Gay­ford, or Neve Gay­ford.

The prime min­is­ter’s hospi­tal stay comes as nurses and mid­wives gear up for in­dus­trial ac­tion.

Af­ter two un­suc­cess­ful rounds of pay ne­go­ti­a­tions, the planned strike is due to start at 7am on July 5 and run un­til 7am on July 6 – un­less a con­sen­sus be­tween the nurses union and coun­try’s district health boards (DHBS) can be reached.

Dur­ing the press con­fer­ence, Ardern was asked about her thoughts on the pend­ing strike, fol­low­ing her hospi­tal stay.

‘‘I think ev­ery time I’ve been asked a ques­tion about that, I’ve said ex­actly what I felt, and what I con­tinue to feel, which is the peo­ple who work in our pub­lic health sys­tem are ab­so­lutely won­der­ful,’’ she said.

‘‘We ex­pe­ri­enced that first­hand, in the mid­dle of the night – mul­ti­ple times in the mid­dle of the night – and I be­lieved that be­fore and I be­lieve that now.’’

Ardern gave birth in a pub­lic hospi­tal, with her midwife Libby. It is un­der­stood that she had a pri­vate ob­ste­tri­cian.

The prime min­is­ter sang the praises of her midwife on Instagram, when she posted a pic­ture of her, Neve and Libby, say­ing: ‘‘Not only is she in­cred­i­ble at what she does, this morn­ing she made me mac­a­roni and cheese be­cause she heard me men­tion a wee crav­ing yes­ter­day.

‘‘We need to make sure, in all of the things that we do – whether it’s a pay round or it’s health pol­icy – we need to re­flect the value of that work­force. No doubt this adds a spe­cial ex­pe­ri­ence to that, though. No doubt.’’

Last-ditch talks be­tween the nurses’ union and DHBS will con­tinue to­day.

The New Zealand Nurses Or­gan­i­sa­tion (NZNO) and DHBS’ ne­go­tia­tors at­tended me­di­a­tion on Fri­day af­ter nurses ‘‘strongly re­jected’’ the lat­est DHB of­fer – a $520 mil­lion pack­age de­scribed by Health Min­is­ter David Clark as the best in a decade.

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