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Nurses have ratified a 4.5% pay rise staggered over two years, the New Zealand Nurses Organisation announced yesterday.
The collective agreement, which covers more than 23,000 nurses, midwives, and health care assistants, was accepted by 73.5% of voting union members, NZNO industrial adviser Lesley Harry said.
"We were pleasantly surprised by the high level of acceptance."
Union members will receive 2% now, 1.5% next March, and 1% in March, 2014.
Ms Harry labelled as "misinformation" recent media coverage suggesting a pay offer voted down earlier in the negotiating process had been more favourable.
Suggesting that offer was better was "absolute nonsense".
The previous offer included a 2% lump sum, as well as a 2.5% pay rise, and was "arguably" more favourable for some expert-level practice nurses, she said.
However, for the vast majority of members the ratified offer was the best deal, which was shown by its acceptance, she said.
As well as the pay rise, the 36-month settlement included a lump sum for enrolled nurses to transition to a revised scope of practice, a commitment from DHBs to the care capacity demand management programme (a safe staffing initiative), and the ability to transfer sick leave between DHBS.
"NZNO members working in DHBs have a new collective agreement which provides them with some certainty and security for the next three years," Ms Harry said.