Child poverty, inequality at 'unacceptable levels', wealth tax crucial to improving outcomes - Green Party

The Green Party says child poverty and inequality in New Zealand is at "unacceptable" levels - and a wealth tax is vital to stop Kiwis from falling through the cracks. 

On Tuesday a new report from the Salvation Army showed there was a "rapid increase" of children living in benefit-dependent households in 2020 - up by 23,000 - a sign child poverty rates could increase, rather than decline.

Green Party co-leader Marama Davidson says New Zealand's social support system has "trapped people in poverty" by keeping benefits too low.

She says the COVID-19 lockdown will have only made things worse.

"The burden of lockdown has not been equally shared, and it is clear many more of our children will feel the impacts for years to come if we don't act now."

Davidson says the current benefits system is "complicated and unfair" and should be replaced by a guaranteed minimum income - paid for by a wealth tax, taken from New Zealand's richest 6 percent.

"If not, we risk a whole generation of New Zealanders falling through the tax."

But Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern has categorically ruled out a wealth tax.

"I have said the same thing on this policy no less than probably 50 times. I have ruled it out," she said in November last year.

"It is not our policy."