The first of many rallies over nurses' pay was held in Wellington this morning.
Nurses last month voted to reject the latest pay offer from DHBs around the country and may consider strike action.
New Zealand Nurses Organisation (NZNO) industrial services manager Cee Payne said at the time a majority of their members voted on the issue.
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She said nurses were dealing with an ageing population and an increasingly sick population, which was leaving staff stressed.
"The issues we're dealing with have arisen from a decade of underfunding of the health system, along with an increasing community need for healthcare, an ageing population, an ageing workforce, and rising costs in the delivery of healthcare.
"Our members have been reporting to us, over that decade, increased workloads, increased patient acuity meaning our patients are sicker when they arrive at the hospital, stress, fatigue, and lack of job satisfaction.
"This is contributing to high staff turnover and low staff morale."
Payne said nurses felt their skills and knowledge was undervalued.
The rejected offer was for 27,000 nurses, hospital aides, and core midwives to get a 2 per cent pay rise as well as a $1050 lump sum.
After the rejection, NZNO launched a campaign to mobilise members and the wider public to highlight the issues facing nurses and the health sector.
The first rally was held this morning outside the Wellington Railway Station, with members holding placards and handing out leaflets.
The campaign activities are planned throughout New Zealand to show the Government it needs to prioritise rebuilding a quality public health system by investing in nursing, the largest health workforce.
Payne said the activities were part of the campaign to garner public support for fully funded, quality, public health services and to secure fair recognition for the value the nurses, midwives and healthcare assistants bring to the well-being of all New Zealanders.
NZNO president Grant Brookes said the rallies were a great way for members to demonstrate their dissatisfaction about the underinvestment into pay and safe staffing, and to bring the issue to the public's attention.
Later this week rallies will be held in Auckland, Christchurch, Dunedin, Masterton, and again in Wellington.