Key Points:

Prime Minister John Key appears to be sympathetic to lifting the statutory minimum wage, but says any increase has to balance the possible loss of jobs.

Mr Key said Cabinet would discuss the issue next week and he did not want to "rush ahead" of that debate.

"But people need to live and to meet their liabilities so we are looking at what can happen there," Mr Key said today.

There was a trade-off about an increase as it should not result in job losses because businesses could not afford the wage increase.

There was a range of options in a Labour Department paper on the issue, which included an increase in line with inflation.

The paper also included a discussion on "structural" issues of the minimum wage.

Yesterday, Labour MP Trevor Mallard urged the government to increase it from $12 to $15 to help low income workers get through the worsening economy.

Mr Key said he could not see any chance of that happening and while in government Labour had not advocated for such a large increase this year

Last week Finance Minister Bill English was asked about the Government's position, but he said that it was up to Cabinet to decide.

"I think the arguments around the minimum wage are well known. Would increasing minimum wage cost people jobs? We're looking for a balance between the economics and the fairness."

Mr English said there was no change on National's policy on entitlements, benefits would be inflation indexed, and New Zealand Superannuation maintained at 66 per cent of average wage.

- NZPA