The Hawke's Bay District Health Board estimates the cost of the nurses' strike in July was $28,272.

Almost half of the spend, $12,400, was spent on additional GPs, nurses and administration staff to work in accident and medical clinics.

Nurses who went on strike were not paid, but those who did not strike were paid at the normal rates. Other staff were paid in accordance with their employment agreement.

More than 30,000 members of the New Zealand Nurses' Organisation (NZNO), including nurses, midwives and health care assistants, took to the streets from 7am on July 12 to 7am on July 13 after rejecting the district health boards' revised pay offer of 9 per cent for all member nurses by August 2019.


Before the strike about 1573 hours were spent on contingency planning.

The Hawke's Bay DHB's chief nursing and midwifery officer, Chris McKenna, said the amount of contingency planning meant Hawke's Bay Hospital was well prepared on the day of the strike, and had a robust Life Preserving Agreement in place with the nurses' union.

Twenty-two elective operations were postponed on the day and 272 outpatient clinics had to be postponed and rescheduled. It is understood between 30 and 40 elective operations are performed each day, not including acute operations.

"We are mindful, however, of the impact reshuffling elective surgeries has on patients and we apologise to those patients for any inconvenience the nurses' strike caused," said McKenna.

On August 7 the NZNO signed a new pay agreement, ending nearly a year of negotiations, including strike action for 30,000 nurses in public hospitals and 20 DHBs.

Most notably, the deal established that nurses will get three pay increases over the next 18 months.

The NZNO was contacted for comment but did not respond.