Exclusive: New Zealand ranked 136th in world on fair wealth distribution leading to call for new tax

The Government needs to tax wealth and corporates more - that's the call from Oxfam Aotearoa after its international inequality index found New Zealand ranks 136th out of 161 countries when it comes to fair wealth distribution. 

It found our tax policies rank just 91st in the world while our labour rights place us in 74th. 

The group also has something to say about the big profits of our supermarkets too. New Zealand supermarkets took home the big bucks while we were all locked down, with excess profits of more than a million dollars a day. 

Oxfam Aotearoa said it's time to chomp away at those gains. 

"Some people are doing quite well and a lot of people are struggling," said Dr Jo Spratt, Oxfam Aotearoa communications and advocacy director.

Newshub can reveal in Oxfam's latest inequality index, New Zealand ranked 136th out of 161 countries for fair wealth distribution.

Oxfam wants to see supermarkets and other top-earning corporates forced to pay up via a windfall tax. That's a one-off targeted tax for those benefitting from something they weren't responsible for, like a pandemic. 

"Tax those people and corporates who have plenty and are amassing amounts they don't need and use that revenue to share with people who don't have enough food to feed their family," said Dr Spratt.

The index ranks governments on policies and actions that have major impacts on reducing inequality, like public service spend, taxes and labour rights.

Overall, New Zealand did rank 8th, but Dr Spratt said our "tax system isn't fair". 

Craig Elliffe was on the Government's tax working group and agrees. 

"It's highly effective. I don't think it's fair. I think we have a situation where a lot of wealthy people do not pay very much tax," said Elliffe, a tax specialist at the University of Auckland. 

Green MP Chlöe Swarbrick said New Zealand's dealing with an inequality crisis. 

"If we're willing to call what we currently have a cost of living crisis, then we have to peel back a layer and understand what we're actually dealing with is an inequality crisis," she said. 

Last year, the Government introduced an extra tax bracket for super earners with anything over $180,000 taxed at 39 percent.

The Prime Minister admits the scales could be better balanced.

"I think every Government would acknowledge there's ways you can continue to ensure fairness."

The pandemic years have seen what's being called a global inequality explosion. But while the Prime Minister acknowledges the unfairness, she's ruled out both a capital gains tax and a wealth tax - which experts say are the easiest ways to level the playing field.