With her baby still feeding in her arms, Jaclyn Bonnici spoke to a noisy crowd packing Auckland's Freyberg Square fighting for better funding for midwives.

Shaking as she spoke, Bonnici this afternoon addressed politicians, mothers, fathers, daughters, sons and students - all taking part in the nationwide protest calling on the Government to act immediately.

Bonnici spoke on behalf of the mothers desperate to ensure midwives get the "support they deserve".

She shared her own story.

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Jaclyn Bonnici speaks on behalf of the mothers with her two-year-old daughter. Photo/ Emma Russell
Jaclyn Bonnici speaks on behalf of the mothers with her two-year-old daughter. Photo/ Emma Russell

Bonnici said despite facing burnout and minimal wages her midwife cared with no complaints.

"My daughter arrived an hour before Christmas. Instead of being with her own family my midwife was helping me start mine."

"Now they need our care and support - enough is enough."

Marchers push for pay equality. Photo/ Emma Russell
Marchers push for pay equality. Photo/ Emma Russell

The New Zealand College of Midwives estimates Lead Maternity Carer (LMC) midwives are paid between $7.23 and $12 an hour, despite being on call 24/7.

Since 2007 their conditions have not changed, despite added expenditure and added pressure.

LMC midwives are self-employed, funded by the Government, and take on a caseload of pregnant women as they see fit.

The Government pays them the same amount per client - about $2300 - and pay does not increase with experience or complex pregnancies.

For the last two and half years the New Zealand College of Midwives has been working with the Government to come up with a fair model of pay.

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Marchers walking up Queen St in Auckland to demand better pay for midwives. Photo/ Emma Russell
Marchers walking up Queen St in Auckland to demand better pay for midwives. Photo/ Emma Russell

Former Labour MP Darien Fenton spoke on behalf of the Labour Government.

Fenton said she couldn't believe that some midwives were getting paid less than minimum wage.

"I believe it now because you told me but that is disgraceful. The most important job is delivering the next generation."

Although Fenton said she could not speak for her colleagues, because she was no longer an MP, she was still a trade union and labour member.

"I know the mess that has to be fixed. I don't know a single Labour Party member that doesn't stand with you today.

"You've heard about pay equity and the work we are doing, for mental health, for carers and I know there is a pay equity issue for midwives as well."

National MP Nicky Wagner took the stage to say she knew the importance midwives held in the community and the former National Government had begun addressing it.

"In 2017 we knew more needed to be done so in 2017 we were addressing a co-design model to get a sustainable profession and to make sure that the issues you're dealing with are addressed."

Angry voices from the crowd yelled "too little, too late" and "we've heard it before."

Crowds gather at Freyberg Square in Auckland to hear politicians, mothers, students and midwives speak. Photo/ Emma Russell
Crowds gather at Freyberg Square in Auckland to hear politicians, mothers, students and midwives speak. Photo/ Emma Russell

Jackie Vaughan was standing in the crowd knowing all too well the struggle that was being talked about on stage.

"I had to give up being a fulltime LMC midwife. Now I do it part-time to balance my own life but I couldn't give it up completely, I love the job too much."

Marches also took place today in Wellington, Dunedin, Tauranga, Taupo and Waikato.

In Wellington, midwives are marching to Parliament to deliver a petition to Health Minister David Clark calling for urgent sustainable funding for midwifery.