The Government’s decision to hike a minimum wage that is already the highest in the developed world shows a callous disregard for small businesses, says ACT Leader David Seymour.

“New Zealand already has the highest minimum wage in the OECD relative to the average wage.

“Further increasing the minimum wage with such a big hike, and at such short notice, will dump massive new costs on small businesses, meaning they will be less able to take on new staff.

“The Government is completely dismissive of concerns about new costs being placed on small businesses around New Zealand.

“This announcement will be a nice Christmas present for those who are able to keep their job. But bear in mind it simply makes up for the tax cuts that would have been delivered for minimum wage workers by the last Government.

“For those young, unskilled workers looking to get a foot on the employment ladder, this will come as a cruel blow.

“Thousands of jobs that would have been created will no longer come into existence.

“The last minimum wage hike destroyed 3000 jobs. This even bigger increase is likely to do more damage.

“The Ardern-Peters regime is an anti-growth Government. It cannot expect to continue to pile compliance costs and red tape on SMEs and expect them to keep growing. At some point they will kill the goose that lays the golden eggs.”