A bid to raise the country's minimum wage has failed.
A Private Member's Bill from Labour MP David Clark was defeated 61 votes to 59 at its first reading in Parliament last night.
Clark's bill was to increase the minimum wage from $13.50 to $15 an hour by March 31, 2013.
Clark said the "working poor" could not earn a living on the current minimum wage.
However, National Party MP Michael Woodhouse said a wage increase would force smaller businesses to lay off staff.