New Zealanders are fortunate that we receive free health care; many people live in countries where it costs a fortune to have a baby, treat cancer or repair injuries.
My wife Michelle has recently had back surgery for an injury she suffered a few years ago. This surgery was possible through ACC that she, like everyone else who works in New Zealand, has been paying into via salary levies, the same as insurance premiums.
Due to a small complication post-surgery, Michelle has had to spend longer than we had anticipated in hospital and our family have been grateful for the care, empathy and expertise of everyone we have encountered in the health system.
Thanks to a three-week parliamentary recess, I’ve been able to stay in my electorate longer than usual to care for Michelle - her post-operative needs and restrictions are significant.
Providing nurse duties on top of parental demands has given me an even greater respect for the work our medical staff perform.
Nurses have been in the headlines recently as they’ve been striking for pay equity – a call which has been ignored by the government since they promised to address it in 2018.
Covid-19 has enforced greater precautions on the medical fraternity and nurses are hugely understaffed; border closures are not helping and Australia is targeting our nurses with more attractive pay and working conditions.
Anyone who has been in our health system will agree that our nurses must be treated with the respect and value they have earnt through their study, experience and skill.
I will certainly not criticise them for taking further industrial action if the government’s latest offer towards pay equity is rejected by their membership.