NZ Election 2020: Labour's proposed top tax bracket not enough for New Zealand First, Greens

Labour's promise of a new 39 percent top tax rate on income earned above $180,000 is not enough for its Government partners New Zealand First and the Greens.

"The next Labour Government would introduce a new top tax rate of 39 percent for the 2 percent of people who earn more than $180,000," Labour's finance spokesperson Grant Robertson announced on Wednesday. 

Labour is keeping all our current tax brackets intact. Everyone pays 10.5 percent on the first $14,000 they earn, every dollar above that up to $48,000 is taxed at 17.5 percent, and income between $48k and $70k at 30 percent. 

Right now every dollar earned over $70,000 is taxed at 33 percent. Labour's new tax would only apply to income over $180,000. 

"We want stability here. We want New Zealanders to be confident about what's going to happen over the next three years, for 98 percent of them there will be no change here," Robertson said. 

The policy will bring in $550 million a year, not even touching the sides of the $50 billion COVID-19 debt, but Robertson says it "all counts". 

But it's not enough for Labour's coalition partner New Zealand First or its confidence and supply partner the Greens. 

"It doesn't kick in until $180,000 and for anybody above that it's a cup of coffee a day," said New Zealand First leader Winston Peters. "Now really it's going to have no effect on our fiscals whatsoever and I cannot believe that's their only tax policy." 

Green Party co-leader James Shaw said he was "underwhelmed" by the policy. 

But taxing the top 2 percent is too much for the Opposition. 

"No country has ever taxed its way out of a recession," said National's finance spokesperson Paul Goldsmith. 

ACT leader David Seymour said it sends the wrong message. 

"We tell our kids to work hard and not pick on people. This is a policy that picks on people who work hard," he said. 

Robertson has ruled out any new taxes under a Labour Government. 

"This is the policy that Labour is campaigning on and we will only implement the changes that are in this policy," he said. 

So, also off Labour's table are tax cuts. 

"They're not part of our policy," Robertson said. "Our policy is what's on the table here."

And despite the crisis presenting a political opportunity for Labour, a capital gains tax is forever gone. 

"I've already ruled that out," said Labour leader Jacinda Ardern. 

National is still insisting Labour is hiding a tax boogeyman somewhere. 

"He sounded, when I heard the press conference, incapable of ruling out more tax grabs," National leader Judith Collins said. 

Perhaps they suggest in the form of the Greens who want two new tax brackets plus a wealth tax. 

But Robertson said, "This is Labour's tax policy and we are committing not to implement anything other than what this is if we are in Government." 

Newshub asked Shaw if it dashes the Greens' dream of a wealth tax. 

"I would say let's have an election and then find out what happens on the other side," he said. 

Robertson letting rip on National saying they're the ones hiding something, taking aim at their debt target he says would require $80 billion of cuts. 

Collins described it as "misinformation".