Successful farmer Graham Robertson has a nice house, a boat and he and his wife love to travel.

But he wants more - he wants equality, or at least less inequality.

Robertson, 73, is passionate about ironing out the differences in society between the haves and the have nots. From his place of privilege, he is calling for higher, and more, taxes on the wealthy.

Successful farmer Graham Robertson would be happy to pay more tax if it meant underprivileged children could get a good start to life. Photo / Kurt Bayer
Successful farmer Graham Robertson would be happy to pay more tax if it meant underprivileged children could get a good start to life. Photo / Kurt Bayer

Through Robertson's research he has concluded a more equal society has better outcomes for all citizens. In societies with a large wealth gap the rich have to board themselves up in gated communities and have issues with trust and high crime rates, he said.

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"In other words if the rich people traded off some of their wealth for a better level of equality then the advantage is to them as well as the poor.

"My challenge is for those who are reasonably well off is to consider that we should contribute more to a Government income by way of taxes."

The cost of inequality was massive, Robertson said. If a child doesn't get a good start to life they would later burden the economy and justice system plus have negative social impacts.

Robertson believed tax needed to be applied equally across all incomes, for instance a capital gains tax on all property. And the top bracket of tax should be increased.

There were other wealthy New Zealanders who felt the same way, Robertson said. Like his peers in the Christchurch Rotary club who were passionate about making a difference in underprivileged children's lives.

Robertson felt it would be un-Kiwi to disclose his earnings except to say "farming has treated me well" and he still has an income. He had also donated significant amounts of money to charity over his career, is a trustee of Presbyterian Support and involved in an aid project in Indonesia to support coffee growers.

While he wanted taxes to be raised, he was wary of "killing the goose laying the golden egg" with restrictively high rates. He said the other danger of high tax was people went through great pains to find loopholes. Instead a solid middle ground needed to be found as it was "plain common sense" to ensure underprivileged kids got a decent start to life.

"We are all in this boat together, and we all need to help each other along the road of life.

"I aspire for the New Zealand I live in to be better off when I leave it."