“New Zealand is facing a chronic shortage of midwives as more and more choose to head overseas or not renew their certificates,” says ACT’s Deputy Leader and Health spokesperson Brooke van Velden.

“Data collected by ACT from Written Parliamentary Questions shows that New Zealand needs 24.2 per cent more midwives to fill existing vacancies.

“This shortage comes as 421 midwives chose to not to renew their practicing certificate in New Zealand in 2022. Almost twice the attrition of 2021 when 224 left the industry in New Zealand.

“Our midwifery sector is in crisis. There are reports of hospitals having to turn away labouring women and mothers being sent home with newborns early. One woman in Christchurch had to be redirected 30 minutes to a neighbouring town’s hospital, with her midwife missing the birth and her birth plan being changed at the last minute.

“This is disappointing and dangerous. There is a serious question of whether New Zealand is still a first world country when women are not able to safely and comfortably give birth.

“The vultures are circling as conditions deteriorate in New Zealand. The New South Wales Government has announced an aggressive healthcare recruitment drive that is enticing midwives across the Tasman.

“In contrast, our Government’s approach to attracting midwives is non-existent. Skilled midwives from overseas can’t even enter New Zealand on a straight to residence pathway.

“The collapse of our health system is part of a gradual decline in New Zealand’s prosperity. People like to think of New Zealand as a first world country but our income figures tell a different story. ACT stands for real change and making New Zealand the preferred destination for talent and investment. Then our health system will flourish.”

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