More than 50 organisations, including churches and unions, are supporting a campaign for a living wage.
The campaign was launched at midday in Auckland on Wednesday and is based on overseas examples where workers who would normally earn the minimum wage are paid more to cover what are considered basic necessities.
The Service and Food Workers Union, which intitiated the campaign, says a research group will now establish what a living wage would be in New Zealand.
Spokeperson Annie Newman says the minimum wage of $13.50 an hour undermines the quality of many workers' lives.
Ms Newman says they can not afford good quality food, time off with their families, or school activities for their children.
The union says employers paying a living wage overseas have found that employees take less sick leave and are more productive.