Unions have targeted the office of ACT Party leader David Seymour in Auckland as they fight against government plans to repeal Fair Pay Agreements (FPAs).
Last week, a leaked Cabinet paper revealed Minister of Workplace Relations and Safety Brooke Van Velden intended to push forward repealing the agreements without holding any consultation with unions or affected workers.
At his post-Cabinet press conference on Monday, Prime Minister Christopher Luxon recommitted to repealing FPAs by Christmas.
A hundred and fifty protesters chanted impassioned pleas across the intersection outside Seymour's Epsom electorate office near Westfield Newmarket.
Convenor for Stand Up and organiser for the New Zealand Nurses Organisation Justine Sachs said FPAs were a once-in-a-generation opportunity to give workers a fair go.
"To take away a pay increase for them before Christmas is the ultimate Grinch move. They are acting with urgency because they know that New Zealanders support workers getting a fair go and we think that this is a government that doesn't care about working people."
Massey University lecturer Zoe Port said she had researched the effects of people having multiple jobs when they could not make ends meet.
"They have poorer physical and mental health outcomes than others and so, what this means for Fair Pay Agreements is, if we can lift people out of those forced situations, if we can stop people from being forced into holding multiple jobs just to get by, their health will also benefit and we'll stop putting people at risk and harming them just from going to work."
Michael Cabral-Tarry from the Post Primary Teachers' Association said the rug was being pulled out from under some of the country's most vulnerable workers.
"It's deeply cynical for the government to do that. It's deeply unfair, really, for the government to want to get rid of Fair Pay Agreements. We don't understand why you would say that you don't want workers to be paid fairly."
Sam Burnside-Woods from Unite Union said FPAs were important for hospitality workers.
"A lot of hospitality employers are very small in the sense that they don't have a lot of employees, so the goal of fair pay agreements is to create very effective minimum standards for an industry."
Opposition MPs joined the picket line, where Labour's workplace relations spokesperson Camila Belich said it was disappointing the minister had not consulted unions.
"I think what has happened is she's told the unions that she's going to repeal that and she thinks that's what consultation is. Anyone who knows anything about employment law knows that consultation has to be meaningful and entered into in good faith, and I don't think the minister has done that in this instance."
Labour MP Phil Twyford said the coalition only cared about one thing.
"They want to drive down the cost of labour, and what does that mean for working people in this country? It means low pay. Shame on them."
Green Party co-leader Marama Davidson said the new government hated workers.
"National, ACT and New Zealand First are out there trying to make people believe that they are standing for workers. They do not."
The protesters marched up the driveway to the electorate office front doors, but the ACT Party leader and deputy were in Wellington.
FIRST Union general secretary Dennis Maga told the crowd: "No one is in the office because no one is serving the working of Aotearoa people [sic]."
He said it was only the start of protests to begin around the country.
Van Velden said the government was moving quickly to remove the legislation before any FPAs were finalised and "the negative impacts are felt by the labour market".
"Fair Pay Agreements undermine the flexible labour market which has been a pillar for New Zealand's economic success for the past three decades," she said.
"They do not help employees. Instead, they make life harder for business so they're more hesitant to employ people."
Van Velden said National and ACT opposed the law when it was introduced, feeling FPAs would reduce flexibility, choice and agility in workplaces.
"To increase the wages of workers and ensure lower prices for consumers, there needs to be improved productivity and an environment where business can operate competitively.
"To lift productivity and drive economic growth, there needs to be agile and flexible workplaces where employers and employees can agree terms that suit their unique situation.
"These agreements were a blunt tool that could be initiated by a union and a small number of employees, yet they applied to every employee and every employer within coverage."
She said there would be no impact on the current terms of employment for workers as no FPAs had been finalised to date.