National Party leader Simon Bridges has again spoken out against the minimum wage increase which comes into effect today, calling it "too far, too fast".
The pay boost, from $16.50 to $17.70, will see around 200,000 Kiwis benefit.
Mr Bridges told TVNZ1's Breakfast this morning that the Government "should increase the minimum wage every single year", but added the $1.20 rise will add undue stress to many of the small businesses which are "doing it tough".
"It's an accumulative effect, right? This is why the economy is weakening. It's not just capital gains tax, it's not just minimum wage, it's doing away with the 90-day trial, it's unionizing the workforce – it's all of these things which means they don't have a certainty and confidence," he said.
Mr Bridges added that society made the decision for taxpayers to subsidise low-paid workers through welfare.
"The truth is, as a society, we made that decision, you know? If you're not a 17-year-old on the minimum wage, but if you’re a mum or a dad and you've got one, two, three children and you've got different circumstances, you will be getting supplements for your home rentals, you will be getting Working for Families. So as a society, [we've] decided that that’s the right thing to do.
"We already - through Working for Families, through rental supplements and the like - are supporting them," he concluded. "But to have that small business doing it? Look, they just can't."