The Labour Party says it would change the Employment Relations Act to give workers more power to negotiate for higher wages.
The party's labour spokesperson, Andrew Little, says it supports the Living Wage campaign, which aims to pressure employers to provide a base wage of $18.40 an hour, and if elected would maker wider changes to boost wages.
He says current arrangements give employers too much power, and labour laws need to be changed to provide employees with more protections to negotiate for higher pay without fear of reprisal.
Mr Little says Labour would reverse the changes National is planning to make to labour laws which it says will take power away from workers.
He says productivity in New Zealand has risen 45% since 1992 but wages have gone up only 12%, and decent wages are vital to preventing skilled workers from leaving.
Labour Leader David Cunliffe has said the party would implement the 'living wage', something Economic Development Minister Steven Joyce says would hurt small businesses and lead to job losses.
Call for changes just an attempt 'to strengthen unions'
Business New Zealand is dismissing Labour's call to reverse planned changes to the Employment Relations Act as just an attempt to strengthen unions.
Business New Zealand chief executive Phil O'Reilly says the balance of power between employers and employees is fine as it is.
He says the Labour Party is really talking about strengthening unions rather than strengthening the power of workers.
Mr O'Reilly says the balance of power between employers and employees is fine as it is.
He says wages should reflect productivity and growth.