Minimum wage hikes won't kill jobs - Grant Robertson

Grant Robertson doesn't believe a rapid increase in the minimum wage will result in job losses.

It'll go up from $15.75 to $16.50 on April 1, rising to $20 by 2021, sparking fears of job losses, particularly among small business owners.

Asked by The Nation host Lisa Owen on Saturday if it was a concern, the new Finance Minister said "no, not at all".

"When Labour was last in Government we were raising the minimum wage by about $1 a year during that period, and we had some of the best economic growth and the lowest unemployment that we've seen.

"Bear in mind, the people who will be getting these minimum wage increases will then be spending that money in the economy. It actually stimulates growth."

NZ First, Labour's minor coalition partner, had a policy of raising it to $20 immediately. Mr Robertson says the two parties are "heading in the same direction".

"We've now got a Government that actually believes that New Zealanders, when they go to work, should be paid a wage that allows them to be fully included in society."

He hinted there may be a change to how business tax works to make it "fair on small businesses".

"Australia has this - the idea of potentially a progressive tax rate for small businesses with low turnover. We want to take a look at that and see whether that could work in New Zealand."