Midwives Petition Hits Over Ten Thousand Signatures – NZ College Of Midwives


More than 10,000 people have signed a petition launched a week ago, calling for better support and funding for community midwives. The 10k figure was reached after the first four days.

Chief executive of the College of Midwives, Alison Eddy, said last week, “After broken promises and more than four years of negotiating with the Ministry of Health, the country’s midwives have had enough.”

Ms Eddy says she and midwives from around the country are thrilled with the response so far and are confident the support will continue.

“We know that midwives are appreciated by so many around Aotearoa. What we need to do is ask people to help our voices to be heard because after 4 years of little progress with government, we are not so sure politicians and bureaucrats understand what we do and how important our work is,” she says.

Eddy says midwives are in people’s homes, helping at the forefront of community care; identifying other issues including housing problems, other family members needing support, immunisation, violence and substance abuse – to name but a few.

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“Midwives and the continuity of care we provide reaches into so many more areas other than maternity,” she says. “With this government’s focus on the importance of the first 1000 days of a child’s life, you’d think the value of our work and the difference it can make to those first 1000 days, would be understood and properly supported. Sadly, that doesn’t seem to be the case.”

Eddy says New Zealand’s midwifery-led maternity model is what other countries around the world are aspiring to develop, and it works very well when it’s resourced appropriately.

“Unfortunately, that still appears to be something the Government is struggling to acknowledge and action, and we really urge them to get on with it. We encourage New Zealanders to support us and in doing so, they will be supporting women and whānau everywhere.”

The petition will be presented next year and is live until March 1st (NZ Children’s Day).

The petition, and the option of sending a digital postcard to the Prime Minister is available here (www.backmidwives.org.nz)


  1. I have had two home births with domiciliary midwives lined up. The first was so laid back she was late and I learned later this was normal for her. She knew I had quick labours for my previous two births yet she did not leave home when we phoned her and when she did start she deviated to hospital to pick up sterilised equipment. So she missed the delivery. It was fortunate that my mother, a maternity nurse, was in attendance. I didn’t get the midwife’s ‘help’ again.

    My next concern is the publicity over botched births with Midwives at fault.

    I think midwives should get adequate funding but I wish the system would give more support to GPs to take on births. Years ago this was how it worked. Today skilled GPs and skilled midwives should both work with childbirth.

  2. No. These are the people whose historical politicking helped drive family doctors out of obstetrics, and gynecologists back into the hospital system to avoid the politics of practising obstetrics. They need the doctors back. It won’t happen, but I’d be backing having GP’s back, and women having better choices.

    We had a system which worked well. Our infant mortality rates were the lowest in the world. I’m no Greta, but how dare they conflate themselves with the people who mothers and babies do need when things do go wrong.

    ‘The Unfortunate Experiment’ was published circa 1987. Phyllida Bunkle wrote tediously about the look in some damn doctor’s eyes – maybe they gleamed – looking at her, and her breast abscess. I cannot recall if it was before or after this that all white male obstetric practitioners became baddies, and they were chased out by the midwives. From memory, I think Bunkle’s bad breast happened on a Sunday, and chances are that gleaming eyed doctor-monster had been up all night.

    I was working with a bunch of mad women librarians, and probably the only one not to have been arrested for trespass at an airport; the relentless demonisation of hospital doctors continued day after day as an obsessive feminist issue; there was a bulging clippings’ file maintained on it.

    Not all men are baddies – only about half of them – but when it comes to the gestation and birth of babies, I’d be wanting the best qualified, best trained practitioner that I could get, and I’d put up with a jerk – I don’t have to actually like the guy/guyess – to get the best.

    Nice politically correct mums now boast that they’ve delivered babies without a doctor, or a man in sight.
    It’s been said to me two three times. Why, in the context of midwives, doctors can now be seen as the enemy in the way that criminals regard the police, I’m not sure, but it should not have happened; it was fueled by paranoiac feminist nutters. It depended on, and it assumed scenarios where nothing ever goes wrong for a baby or mother, which is not always the case.

    I won’t be signing this petition; the parameters appear too unwieldy, and the whole issue needs to revisited by experts with medical training in the primary field of obstetrics.

    I suggest that the NZ model which Alison Eddy says other countries aspire to, is not as good as the one which it replaced.

    • Thank you Christine Stewart, a more powerful compelling story than mine. We both want doctors back, involved in childbirth. Unfortunately many nurses (not just midwives) seem to put themselves above doctors who have more rigourous scientifically advanced training than they have. Leave out gender as a factor. I had two brilliant doctors for my first two births, one male, one female. Plenty of capable male nurses around but are there any male midwives?

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