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Science Deadline: Nurses strike, Zero Carbon Bill …

Press Release – Science Media Centre

Nearly 30,000 nurses, midwives and healthcare assistants will walk off the job for 24 hours on July 5 unless the New Zealand Nurses Organisation and the district health boards can reach an agreement later today.Science Deadline: Nurses strike, Zero Carbon Bill and gambling through gaming

Nurses to strike on July 5th

Nearly 30,000 nurses, midwives and healthcare assistants will walk off the job for 24 hours on July 5 unless the New Zealand Nurses Organisation and the district health boards can reach an agreement later today.

On Monday, district health board (DHB) nurses rejected the latest pay offer, worth more than $500 million, which Health Minister Dr David Clark said was “our best offer”. The New Zealand Nurses Organisation (NZNO) then issued a strike notice for July 5 on Wednesday, with another notice for July 12 likely to come next week.

Earlier on in the pay dispute, Professor Jenny Carver from Massey University’s School of Nursing told the SMC “my sense from listening to nurses is that striking is deeply repellent and goes against everything nurses hold dear.”

Immediately after they rejected the latest offer, the New Zealand Nurses Organisation (NZNO) sent out a survey to their members asks members to rank the importance of a number of pay issues as well as questions around safe staffing and the proposed pay equity negotiation and settlement process. Cee Payne, the NZNO’s industrial services manager, told Nursing Review that it received about 3000 responses within an hour of sending out the survey. The NZNO will use the responses to the survey to inform how they negotiate with the DHBs.

According to Dr Helen Rook from the Graduate School of Nursing at Victoria University of Wellington, “there is a profound dissonance between how nurses want to practice nursing and how they actually practice. Findings from my research suggest that nurses want to be present and give time to patients, but they are so busy with paperwork, and meeting targets that can’t, and not being able to causes nurses distress.”

DHB spokeswoman Helen Mason told Stuff.co.nz: “I think a lot of our conversations are going to be about ensuring nurses are feeling really confident that DHBs are putting something additional on the table that wasn’t there before. That’s about the safe staffing programme, it’s also about pay equity.”

Mason said the health boards would make sure to have “contingency plans to ensure the safety of patients and staff” and that people needing medical attention shouldn’t avoid going to hospital the day of the strike.

Meanwhile, the Government has approved a $173 million funding package to give mental health and addiction workers pay equity with aged care and support workers.

Quoted: bFM

“Who the hell is going to take the time to replicate an experiment that is doubtless quite difficult to set up and prepare.

“In science, you don’t get any credit for replicating things – you get credit for being first, and absolutely no credit for coming along second and reproducing the results and saying ‘oh yeah it does work’.”

AUT Professor Allan Blackman
on resurfaced claims that the infamous Stanford Prison Experiment doesn’t prove what we thought.
Zero carbon not zero growth

Driving greenhouse gas emissions down doesn’t mean stagnation for our economy, according to economic modelling released this week.

As part of the public consultation of the Zero Carbon Bill – the Government’s proposed plan for how they will transition New Zealand to a low-emission economy by 2050 – Climate Change Minister James Shaw released four separate reports modelling what will happen to the economy under the different emissions target scenarios.

The most conservative report – produced by the New Zealand Institute of Economic Research – found that reaching net-zero emissions for all greenhouse gases would increase household incomes by 40 per cent by 2050, compared to 55 per cent if we do nothing (effectively pulling out of the Paris Agreement).

Shaw told Stuff.co.nz: “The economic modelling shows that we can reduce emissions at the same time as growing the economy, jobs, and per-household incomes.”

Three options are on the table for the Zero Carbon Bill: net-zero carbon dioxide only; net-zero long-lived gases (e.g. carbon dioxide, nitrous oxide) and stabilised short-lived gases like methane; or net-zero emissions for all greenhouse gases.

Associate Professor Ivan Diaz-Rainey from the University of Otago told the SMC, “these are fundamentally very different options and at the heart of these differences are how ‘short lived’ agricultural emissions will be treated. There is no question that agricultural emissions are challenging, both in terms of measurement (as highlighted by Professor David Frame’s recent paper) and in terms of mitigation.”

New Zealand has a particular interest in separating short- and long-lived gases because we make a lot of money from activities that emit the short-lived gas methane, Massey University Professor Robert McLachlan told the NZ Herald. But he pointed out “cutting methane emissions provide an immediate decrease in temperature; cutting carbon dioxide emissions does not”.

Last Friday, National leader Simon Bridges offered Shawbipartisan support on another part of the Zero Carbon Bill: the establishment of a Climate Change Commission. Professor Ralph Sims from Massey University told the SMC it was “encouraging that the National opposition is showing some support as there has to be cross-party agreement to give long-term certainty”.

The SMC gathered expert reaction to the greenhouse gas target options in the Zero Carbon Bil.

Policy news & developments
Digital tech in the classroom: Teachers will get more professional support for teaching the new digital technologies curriculum.

HIV diagnoses down: Drop in the number of people diagnosed with HIV last year after increases seen in the past five years. However, Otago researchers say these are still higher than numbers in 2012 and 2013

Farmer unrest over M.bovis response: MPI will start directly informing neighbouring farms of Infected Properties or high-risk properties nearby and will publish a list of the NAIT numbers of all affected animals on its website after farmers expressed frustration at roadshow meetings.

Mine on conservation land declined: An application to mine coal on public conservation land near Te Kuha in the Buller District has been declined.

Pay equity for mental health and addiction support workers: Around 5,000 mental health and addicti

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