The Green Party is proposing raising the minimum wage from $12 to $15 an hour.
The party says the minimum wage is not enough to live on, giving families less time together and causing social problems among young people.
The Greens say their policy would improve the lives of New Zealanders by growing the country's reputation as a producer of high value clean green goods.
The Employers & Manufacturers Association says the policy would mean jobs cuts as New Zealand heads into tough economic times.
It says employees should be paid according to their productivity.
But the Greens say a focus on reducing the gap between rich and poor needs to be maintained, even in the midst of an economic crisis.