The New Zealand Nurses Organisation has produced a DHB Election Issues Guide to help assess candidates and ask them questions on issues that matter for nursing and health. The City Vision Team standing for the Auckland District Health Board has responded to all the questions posed by NZNO as follows:

Question: If you were elected, what would your plan be to get a local nursing workforce that reflects our community?

Auckland is one of the most diverse cities in the country. We are made up of people from more than 200 ethnic groups, and we are also diverse in terms of age, sexuality, gender, religion, work experience.

A diverse workforce is a strong workforce.  By using everyone’s skills and strengths we can create a high performing organisation where we all feel respected, engaged and motivated.

We recognise that the strain in the health system results in many of our local nurses leaving for other opportunities. Your City Vision board would actively look to work with unions to understand issues and find practical solutions that build trust and delivers service in the way patients need it.  Furthermore, we will improve working conditions to retain existing skilled nursing staff, and support measures to ensure that our diverse locally trained graduates find placements, so that our local workforce will indeed reflect our community.  As your board we would work to ensure building a diverse workforce is a key priority for ADHB.

Question: Do you support every New Zealand nursing graduate being funded for an entry to practice position, and what can you do to increase positions in your DHB?

New Zealand nursing graduates have a right to employment, and our country is wasting its educational resources when competent qualified nurses cannot find work. Improved funding of health services will make it possible to increase NetP positions. This will foster the skills of the nursing workforce, and will pay long-term dividends, enhancing the quality of care and making nursing a more attractive career.

Question: Do you agree that health funding should be increased in real terms to meet the increasing healthcare needs of New Zealanders? How will you advocate for this?

City Vision agrees unequivocally that health funding falls short of meeting population growth and increased need, and will continue to speak out about this until the problem is effectively addressed.  City Vision will continue to lobby the government to address the shortcomings in the current funding model.  We are especially conscious that we are not alone as many DHBs across the country face significant financial concerns. What is clear is that as a board we need to be responsive as a board so while we continue to lobby we will also be working with staff and management to explore new ways of delivering services. With a view to generate great value for patients and their families from the funding we do have.

Question: Is your DHB using CCDM effectively and how will you support this?

Reports of understaffing and delays to care suggest it is not being used effectively, and when elected, City Vision candidates will be able to clarify what the situation is. For CCDM to work, there must be collaboration between the DHB, nurses, and unions, so that demand and capacity can be aligned.

Question: If elected you will have some influence of over DHB contracted services. Do you support a minimum legal safe staffing requirement for aged care?

City Vision want aged care to be a priority, and absolutely support a minimum legal safe staffing requirement, as well as salaries for aged care staff that reflect the value of their work, which at present is grossly undervalued.

Question: Do you support your DHB becoming a Living Wage employer and would you use your vote on the Board to make this happen?

The City Vision team are united in our support of the Living Wage and are committed to using our influence to make it happen across all DHB services, whether workers are directly employed or contracted.

Question: Do you support equal pay, and what will you do to make it a reality?

City Vision supports equal pay, and will demand that the principle is put into practice in wage negotiations across the DHB. We will seek to work with the DHB HR teams to track and report any disparities.

Question: Do you believe the nursing workforce is paid fairly, has safe working hours, and terms and conditions that value their contribution to your DHB?

Nurses’ contribution to health services has long been exploited and undervalued, and many nurses leave because they can no longer tolerate worsening conditions. MECA negotiations have tended to be adversarial and result in compromise – a feeling among nurses that “this isn’t up to much, but it could have been worse”. When elected, City Vision candidates will work to repair the DHB’s relationship with nurses and develop one based on respect, dialogue and commitment to genuine consensus on issues which affect nurses’ lives and well-being.

Question: Do you support a health impact assessment for all major policy initiatives and social and infrastructure projects of your DHB? Will you work to make this happen?

All investment under the DHB should have robust decision making behind it and City Vision believes this is an excellent tool to support that.  If elected as your board we would work with staff and management to ensure the right kinds of systems and support are in place for the many staff making policy and investment decisions.

Question: How will you work with other central and local government agencies to make our community safe and healthy for everyone?

Health services do not create good health alone; social factors are its foundation. Unless central and local government are committed to addressing the problems such as inequality, poverty and homelessness, diseases associated with these will outstrip our ability to cope with them. Health impact must be given top priority in all policy decisions if we are to avoid further escalation of mental and physical health conditions which already threaten to overwhelm resources. When all 7 City Vision candidates are elected, making a majority on Auckland DHB, we will make it a top priority and actively engage central and local government representatives to lift all our communities.

Question: What will you do to reduce your DHB’s contribution to global climate change?

Our team recognises that climate change is a serious issue and one of our biggest challenges into the future. DHBs have to play a part in reducing emissions in all activities  – transport, waste, energy,  and water.

Steps can be taken to reduce levels of waste and enable reuse of materials where possible. Key to this is engaging and supporting to staff to identify and change practice for the better. Additionally supporting staff and patients through a travel plan to make greater use of public transport can help reduce the DHBs negative impact on climate change. This will require engaging our colleagues in local government to ensure the right kinds of transport options are available to connect people to our facilities.