It's feared a proposal to slash staff hours at two Southland retirement homes will put patients at risk.
Presbyterian Support Southland is considering a reduction of 90 hours per week across nurses and care workers.
But Nurses Organisation spokesperson Simone Montgomery says staff deserve better.
"My challenge would be to the Government to very, very quickly do something around funding that means parity in payment is reached for our nurses."
Presbyterian Support Southland says it's looking to increase nursing hours by 336 a week.
"The mix of care hours between registered and enrolled nursing hours, and care worker hours, is also proposed to be changed we are significantly increasing nursing hours, by 336 hours per week, but reducing Care Worker hours by 426 thus the overall net decrease of 90 hours," a spokesperson said.
"The change is more about the mix of nursing staff and care worker staff, rather than reducing staff per se. The 90-hour reduction from the 3050 hours in total is a small reduction."
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But the Nurses Organisation says it doesn't add up.
"The jobs that a nurse does and a job that a caregiver does are very, very different, and the hours allocated to a resident in rest home-level care are not very high," said Montgomery.
Presbyterian Support Southland says they're still in negotiation with employees about staffing levels, and called the Nurses Organisation's claims "irresponsible".