Newshub-Reid Research Poll: Half of Kiwis support taxing biggest earners at higher rate

Newshub can reveal half of New Zealanders support taxing our biggest earners at a higher rate.

In the latest Newshub-Reid Research poll, voters were asked if they would support an additional higher income tax bracket. Half of those polled said 'yes', 42.4 percent didn't support it, and 7.6 percent didn't know. 

Support is highest among the Government partners with 58 percent of Labour supporters, 74 percent of Greens and 53 percent of New Zealand First voters saying 'yes'. 

Only 29.5 percent of National Party voters supported it. 

The Government is spending far more money to deal with COVID-19 than it's getting back in taxes - and the latest poll shows half of New Zealanders want to change that. 

The highest tax bracket in New Zealand is income earned over $70,000 - that's taxed at 33 percent. Australia and the United Kingdom both have a top tax rate of 45 percent for super earners. 

Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern said on Monday it is "undeniable" that COVID-19 will shape the September election - but she could rule out campaigning on a higher tax bracket.

"I've been very careful to point out that we haven't put out some final parts of the Labour Party's policy," she said. 

National Party leader Judith Collins said her party has "made it clear" that it does not support increasing taxes. 

An additional top tax bracket could start to make a dent in the debt the Government is taking on for the COVID-19 response, which is forecast to reach 47 percent of GDP in a decade. 

The National Party aims to reduce that to below 30 percent of GDP - but it has ruled out increasing taxes to do so, raising the question of whether it'll cut public services to get there. 

"We don't believe we do have to but we do believe that where we are spending the money, we need to make sure that we are spending it wisely," Collins said. 

The Prime Minister says she disagrees with the Opposition's approach. 

"We disagree with the Opposition who have proposed what would be significant and deep cuts to services like health and education."

The battle lines have been drawn and it's all about how we spend in response to COVID-19.