Duncan Garner: Greens' loopy envy tax won't help the poor - it will hurt them

OPINION: How many times does Jacinda Ardern have to say Labour will not introduce the Greens idea for a wealth tax. Time after time after time.

But it hasn't stopped Judith Collins stirring the pot. 

So, here's how it could work if it happened.

The tax is set at 1 percent and you'd have to own assets worth over $1 million to be stung by this. The first $1 million of assets is exempt.

If you have assets worth $1.2m, you'd pay one percent on $200,000 only - so $2000 a year. It's like having to pay rates to the council again.

No thanks.

Own a $1.2m house with a $500,000 mortgage then the balance is seen as your wealth - in this case, $700,000. Therefore you would pay no tax because you're under the threshold.

But, if you owned two houses outright, freehold, had no mortgage, together valued at say $1.9m, the tax is 1 percent on the $900,000, so you'd be forced to pay $9000 a year for the privilege of, well, of paying off your debt and being successful. 

That's $173 a week in extra tax you'd pay. 

If you rented the second house no doubt you'd hike the rent up to cover your new tax costs. 

So, in the end the poorest Kiwis would actually pay that tax for the wealthy. 

It's bloody loopy and unworkable and could drive up rents. How that helps the poor, who the Greens claim to represent, is anyone's guess. How superannuitants could afford it, I have no idea.

The way around it might be get some debt, get a mortgage to keep your assets at $1 million forever. This lacks ambition.

I can't see how it would be acceptable to the majority of New Zealanders. It's an envy tax. If you get rich we'll get ya. If you pay off ya house we'll punish ya. 

It's effectively a capital gains tax on everything,including many family homes, every year, just with another name: wealth tax.

That's why Jacinda Ardern has said not on her watch. 

Entertain this and you'll entertain oblivion for a long time.

And Judith Collins, as mischievous as it is, has been deaf to the denials and done well to keep this on the agenda.

What's more is a wealth tax would apply on all assets above $50,000. So expensive cars, boats, campervans, savings accounts - although not Kiwisaver.

For the record, the Greens also want a capital gains tax on baches and investment properties too. Earn over $150,000 and they want to take 42 percent of it. Much more harsh than Labour's tax policy.

The Greens want environmental taxes to tax polluters and those who harm the environment. A financial transactions tax is also on their wish list.

Is there a tax they haven't thought of yet?

No doubt they're looking.

Happy voting.

Duncan Garner hosts The AM Show.