NZ Election 2020: Why a poverty advocate is against the Green Party's wealth tax

A poverty advocate says the Green Party's proposed wealth tax will disadvantage families that are asset rich but cash poor. 

The proposed wealth tax would introduce a 1 percent tax on net assets over $1 million and 2 percent over $2 million. 

Housing wealth under a mortgage wouldn't count, nor would "normal household goods worth less than $50,000", including vehicles. The party says this would raise $7.9 billion in its first year.

But Māngere Budgeting Services CEO Darryl Evans told the AM Show on Monday the policy doesn't take into account people who own a home but have low incomes. 

"I totally believe that the wealthiest in the country should be paying their fair share of tax and many avoid tax. But actually, we've got clients that are asset wealthy, they own a $1 million house but they are cash poor - there is simply not enough money and they are going to food banks."

Evans said the policy could also hurt Polynesian families who tend to pass homes down from generation to generation. 

"If it's a Polynesian family, they simply won't sell that house. It will just be passed down, passed down, passed down. It's not a particularly well-built house, it's falling apart essentially."

He also pointed to high house prices, especially in Auckland, as an example of how many people would be impacted by the policy, not all of whom are wealthy. 

In August, the average house price in Auckland surpassed $1 million, a 5.4 percent increase year on year. 

Evans pointed to Labour's new top tax rate as a better way of ensuring the rich pay their fair share. 

Labour's policy would introduce a new tax rate of 39 percent for income over $180,000 a year.