Midwives staged a protest on Kawakawa’s main street on Friday as part of a two-hour national strike. Christine Byrne, of Meras (the New Zealand College of Midwives), said up to 12 members on the picket line from 10amnoon received a “really positive reaction with lots of waving and tooting”. Some midwives stayed in the maternity unit to provide life-preserving services. Byrne said midwives felt they were being listened to by the Government for the first time in many years but still had a long way to go, with midwives leaving the profession “in droves” due to low pay. They had been offered the same settlement as nurses but wanted district health boards to recognise them as a separate profession. They also felt nurses had settled for less than they deserved, Byrne said. Action was Northland-wide but the only picket was in Kawakawa. Independent midwives are covered by a different pay agreement.