Stuart Nash says public servants need to realise the private sector's doing it tough.
The Government is denying its announcements amount to a pay freeze on the public sector as nurses weigh up whether to strike or not.
The Small Business Minister told Mike Hosking it's not about how much is being saved, it's about bringing restraint back.
"I've received a whole lot of letters from people in the private sector, who during Covid either were made redundant or were struggling to hold onto their staff."
He says the Government has spent more than $4 billion in the last term on pay settlements for teachers and nurses
"Go back to those three words - lift, adjust, hold our aspiration on this is in the right place."
However, National MP Mark Mitchell told Mike Hosking inflation won't stop over the next three years.
"The cost of living is just going to go up, and you've got people stranded on their current pay. It's just not fair."