Providing New Zealanders with a living wage is not high on the Government's agenda and it is unlikely to support the campaign, Prime Minister John Key said today.

Speaking at his post-Cabinet press conference, Mr Key said it was up to companies whether they paid a rate above the minimum wage and above $18.

The living wage campaign will be launched on Thursday by unions. It calls for wage rates families can realistically live on and is expected to be $18-$20 an hour.

The minimum wage is $13.50 an hour.


"The only area where the Government plays a role is in setting the minimum wage. If you ask me whether we intend to raise the minimum wage to $18 a hour, the answer is no, not in the next 12 months,'' Mr Key said.

There had to be a balance between people needing to pay their bills and meeting liabilities and making sure they remained in employment.

"That's a balancing act we're constantly trying to manage.''

Mr Key called the living wage campaign "simplistic''.