NZ Election 2020: High-income earners say 'rich will still get richer' under Labour's proposed tax policy

High-income earners affected by Labour's new tax rate say they'll stay rich, even if they're forced to pay more towards the public purse.

Labour promised on Wednesday to introduce a new top tax rate of 39 percent on income earned above $180,000, but is promising no new taxes or any further increases to income tax, if it wins another term. 

Labour's finance spokesperson Grant Robertson said the party wants to "strike a balance" as New Zealand recovers from COVID-19 and avoid cuts to services while helping keep a lid on debt.

Malcolm Rands, founder of cleaning products company Eco Store, has a sentiment that few may share - he'd "like to pay more tax".

He said he's happy to pay Labour's proposed 39 percent tax rate and would be open to pay more.

"Let's see how 39 [percent] goes. If we can handle it, let's bring it up to even more, yes," Rands said.

A 39 percent tax rate is low when compared with the highest tax rates internationally. The United States charges 43 percent, the UK 45, Australia 47, Japan 56 percent, and Sweden's 57 percent is the priciest in the OECD.

Aucklanders Newshub spoke to say Labour's rate is about right.

"Cool, sounds great," one said.

"If you have more, you should pay more," another said.

Some say it doesn't go far enough.

"Probably tax them at 50 percent," one person said.

But views also depend on how much a person earns.

"Shit no, they've got no idea what they're doing," one said. When asked if they earn over $180,000, they declined to comment.

Tax expert and PwC NZ partner Geof Nightingale says Labour's tax plan won't hit the rich where it hurts.

"There's a whole class of income that's not currently being taxed, that's still not going to be taxed - that's capital gains," Knightingale said.

He said taxing workers' wallets is Labour's second best option after Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern ruled out a capital gains tax on lucrative assets like property.

"Under a future Labour government, the rich will still get richer," he said.

Executives of the country's top listed companies all well and truly exceed the $180,000 benchmark for the proposed tax rate, earning an average of $868,000 each. Under Labour's plan, they'll pay an extra $41,000 a year.