A more even playing field for workers, and a concerted effort on housing will be early priorities for the new coalition.

Prime Minister-elect Jacinda Ardern has been outlining what she hopes to achieve in the first 100 days in office, which formally begin on Thursday.

She's told TVNZ's Q&A programme that leaving everything to the market simply isn't working for workers.

But she says that doesn't mean we're heading for a period of industrial strife.


Ardern said she wants to lead a government of partnership, and recognises that to achieve gains for New Zealanders the coalition will have to work alongside the business community as well.

The country's credit rating would be something she'd always be mindful of, Ardern said, but she believed we needed to start measuring success in terms of outcomes for people.

"There is no point gloating about the economic growth of a nation if you have some of the highest rates of homelessness in the developed world."

Ardern promised Labour's coalition would deliver on what they had promised on the campaign trail, including higher wages and addressing the housing crisis, water pollution and improving rates of child poverty.

"We will be ambitious in the goals we set for ourselves," she said.

Responding to questions about what could realistically be achieved in terms of wage growth in just three years, Ardern said her Government wanted to be seen to be taking quick action to lay the groundwork for wage growth over time.

"Investing in skills and education is one of the ways we will see a long term investment in our wage growth," she said.

"There are immediate ways you can lift wages and that's raising the minimum wage."

Part of Labour's 100 day plan will see the minimum wage rise to $16.50 at the start of 2018.

The coalition Government was also open to legislating fair pay agreements among industries with a goal of seeing minimum wages set in a couple of sectors a year, Ardern said.

She wanted to work with the business sector to alleviate fears around industry wage agreements, saying driving down wages and conditions to win contracts "does not serve our purposes".

Again addressing the perceived failure by some of capitalism, Ardern said she believed New Zealand could do better.

"My view is there a role for us to play where we are being much more proactive and intervening where there are signs the market is failing our people.

"There is no point gloating about the economic growth of a nation if you have some of the highest rates of homelessness in the developed world."

Ardern criticised National's "absolutely hands off" approach to the housing crisis, saying it was a clear example of the status quo's failure.

On immigration, she refused to be drawn on whether there was a racial element to the discourse around the issue, saying instead the country had skills shortages in some areas and oversupply in others which needed to be addressed.

Meanwhile, Ardern hopes Australia's Turnbull government doesn't go ahead and restrict Kiwis from university courses in Australia as she may be forced to end a reciprocal arrangement, AAP reports.

Ardern told Sky News on Sunday she hopes it doesn't come to that and the mutual access continues.

"But if we do find New Zealanders aren't able to access tertiary education the same way as Australians currently do there will be flow-on effects here," she said.

Last week the Australian Government had to shelve its plans to charge New Zealanders and other permanent residents international students' fees - a step which would have tripled some New Zealanders' fees in Australia.

The policy was part of a package released in May which was aimed at getting about $3 billion in savings in the tertiary education system, but was halted by a bloc of cross-benchers led by Senator Nick Xenopon whose votes were needed to pass it.

It would have pushed fees from about $7000 a year to about $24,000 a year.