Cyndi Childs lives, loves and breathes nursing. She just wants to be acknowledged for it.
That is why she took part in the industrial action on Thursday. The strike came more than a year after failed negotiations between primary healthcare nurses and the Government.
The nurses say they are paid 10.6 per cent less than their Bay of Plenty District Health Board colleagues but hold the same qualifications, skills and experience.
These nurses are covered by the primary healthcare multi-employer collective agreement.
DHB nurses won a pay rise in 2018 after industrial action, but primary healthcare nurses - those at GPs and some emergency clinics - say they're still being paid about $7650 less per year.
DHB nurses can be paid up to $77,300. Salaries in primary care top out at about $69,700, the New Zealand Nurses Organisation confirmed.
Childs has been in primary care for six years and is gaining her master's qualification.
"It's all about us being treated equally because we have the same degree, we have the same qualifications.
"We just want to be acknowledged in our pays compared to the DHB nurses because they're earning 10.6 per cent more on their base salary."
The 2019 to 2020 New Zealand health strategy outlined the nurses' workload had increased in recent years.
Childs said a major part of the strategy was transferring the hospital workload on to primary care.
"We do so much preventative care to keep people out of hospitals and to keep DHB funding down," she said.
"I don't want to leave my patients without a nurse, but we have to make a stand. We've been fighting for this for years, since the DHB nurses were fighting, and they got their pay rise."
New Zealand Nurses Organisation industrial adviser Chris Wilson said this had never happened in primary healthcare workplaces and was a clear indication of the frustration workers feel after months of fruitless negotiations.
"This is completely unjust and undervalues the amazing work these nurses do in providing expert care in the community."
She also said there were steps on the medical receptionist and admin scale that did not even meet the living wage.
"Employers have been very clear they also want pay parity with DHBs so they can keep their staff and continue delivery of a quality primary healthcare service. However, their funding from government is completely inadequate."
When asked in Wednesday's Covid-19 briefing about the strike, Minister of Health Chris Hipkins said he was not going to get involved in industrial negotiations.
"Ultimately they are employed by private practices, the Government is not their employer and so there are a variety of factors that those employers take into account in their negotiations.
"In general, the Government supports pay parity. Equal pay for equal work, that's the basic premise that we do support. Having said that in primary care, we are not the employer of those nurses."