Simon Bridges has welcomed the minimum wage increase over the weekend, but has criticised the planned rise by 2021 to $20 as having the potential to damage small businesses and negatively impact the "most vulnerable".
File image of man getting money from his wallet.
"At $16.50, I don't think there's an issue," the National Party leader said on TVNZ1's Breakfast this morning.
"I think where the concern that we have is, is the government's policy is to get to $20 in 2020, that's a very big jump and it has a real effect on small business, which is effectively the life-blood of our economy.
"It's also a worry for the most vulnerable because at $20... that's 28,000 people out of jobs. You're sort of being cruel by being kind when you raise it too fast."
A 2016 Minimum Wage Review said an approximate 28,000 jobs could be lost due to the minimum wage matching the living wage.
Watch the full interview here: