Care and support workers across New Zealand are grateful for the efforts of aged care worker Kristine Bartlett, who brought about a boost to their pay, thanks to her historic equal pay court victory and the $2 billion settlement which followed.

Those efforts have been recognised through her nomination for this year’s New Zealander of the Year award. At the news that she has been named one of the finalists for the prestigious award, Bartlett says she is “humbled and honoured”.

“I just can’t believe it, to be honest, I really can’t,” says Bartlett, “But as I always say: I wouldn’t be where I am today if it wasn’t for my wonderful union, E tū, the union members and the coalition groups which battled alongside me.”

The union is delighted with her nomination, describing it as “well-deserved recognition”.

E tū’s Equal Pay Coordinator Yvette Taylor says Bartlett has inspired confidence among other women in low paid jobs to fight for justice.

“Through her inspirational leadership and courage, she has transformed the lives of tens of thousands of carers, elevating the valuable work they do to its rightful position and putting equal pay firmly in the spotlight.

“She’s our equal pay hero and we’re so proud of her nomination for this award.”

Bartlett’s efforts have already earned her the NEXT Magazine Woman of the Year Supreme Award and E tū is hopeful she’ll take out New Zealander of the Year as well.

Other finalists are mental health advocate Mike King and microbiologist and antibiotic resistance awareness campaigner Dr Siouxie Wiles.

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