Mothers and babies rely on and value the work of midwives, and the Green Party believes the Government should too. Budget 2018 provides additional support of over $100 million over the next four years for community midwifery services.
As a pregnant Minister, I am proud to have a special relationship with my midwife. Now, I am pleased she will be paid more fairly. It is a unique time when women rely on their midwife during pregnancy, birth, and the first few weeks of a baby’s life. Many of the women who have been in contact supporting midwives have spoken of the aroha, dedication, and the extra mile shown. It is so appreciated.
Midwives have been undervalued and under-supported for far too long. Not only has the work been historically undervalued because it is predominately done by women for women, but the last nine years have seen chronic under-investment in our health system. The work is hard and complex, as well as being physically and emotionally demanding. We want midwives to stay working as midwives, and for this profession to be treasured for the amazing work done all over New Zealand.
Safe hours of work
The Budget 2018 package also includes funding to help ensure safe hours of work for midwives. Currently, midwives who call on colleagues to take over care during a lengthy labour have to fund this out of their own fees. The Budget provides $16 million dollars over four years to assist midwives with these costs. We all want to ensure that mothers, babies, and midwives are practising in a safe way and are supported.
Today is a first step in ensuring the whole system is working as it should be. After nine years of underfunding in our health system, I know that our first Budget won’t deliver everything to everyone. But this is a start.