Acting Prime Minister Winston Peters says the Government "haven't got the money" to make a new pay offer to nurses who will go on strike this Thursday.
"We haven't been joking when we told the nurses via the media that this is our best offer," Mr Peters said in a news conference on Tuesday morning.
"It's not that we're not willing to - we haven't got the money."
Danni Wilkinson is a part-time nurse and says many NZNO members aren’t happy with the way negotiations are being handled, in fact - they’re calling for a new negotiating team to take over.
Ms Wilkinson told RadioLIVE Drive: "There's a lot of feeling that the union negotiators have gone in too soft. They've expected us to accept the two percent offer from nearly 12 months ago.
Mr Peters said the Government had inherited the Mycoplasma bovis crisis and the PSA outbreak affecting the kiwifruit industry, the combined cost of which is expected to cost in excess of $1.2 billion.
The July 12 nurses' strike was given the green light after members of the New Zealand Nurses organisation (NZNO) voted to reject the latest pay offer from district health boards (DHBs).
Mr Peters said the pay offer was the highest "by far" in the last 14 years.
"The Government doubled the offer from its opening position in addition to a pay increase," he explained.
Listen to the full interview with Danni Wilkinson above.