Midwives march around the country for better funding

Hundreds of midwives across the country have marched in protest of poor pay.

Asking Government to accept a proposed funding model that will bolster pay, more than 200 midwives in Wellington marched on Parliament to demand urgent action on Thursday.

Minister of Health David Clark and Minister for Women Julia Anne Genter met the protesters, but offered no promises of increased pay in the upcoming budget.

New Zealand College of Midwives estimates the current average hourly wage for rural midwives is $7.23, and for urban midwives $12.80.

Andrea Sarty, deputy chair of New Zealand College of Midwives Wellington, said when the current pay model was established, it assumed women had uncomplicated births.

"The Government came in with a clear statement that they wanted to solve gender inequity in pay ... the model is sitting there, they just have to fund it."

Socio-economic pressures, obesity and greater number of scans have increased a midwife's workload. 

"A lot of things keep getting added ... but the pay has been frozen."

There was no funding for travel costs, or administrative work. If a pregnant woman leaves a midwife's area due to a complicated birth – for instance travelling to a hospital – the midwife loses the nearly thousand dollar "birthing fee", which covers much of their earlier work.

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