The Greens have unveiled a $360 million policy package they say would lift 100,000 children out of poverty and want National to support at least some of it as part of a post-election deal similar to their existing agreement.
But Prime Minister John Key wasted no time in saying at least half of the package was unacceptable to his Government.
Greens co-leader Metiria Turei, assisted by Outrageous Fortune star Nicole Whippy and former children's commissioner Cindy Kiro, launched the package at Ranui Community House yesterday, saying the 270,000 children living in poverty was a "shameful statistic" that could be addressed for relatively little money.
"Our solutions to bring 100,000 kids out of poverty by 2014 would cost just $360 million a year, less than 0.3 per cent of GDP," she said.
The most expensive of the four policies was to extend Working for Families to parents on benefits which the Greens estimate would cost about $300 million a year.
The Greens would also raise the minimum wage to $15 an hour, reinstate the Training Incentive Allowance to help sole parents take degree level courses which would improve their work prospects and pay, and would also make insulation compulsory for rental properties by 2018.
"These solutions are so simple and affordable there's really no excuse not to implement them," Ms Turei said.
All of the measures are longstanding Greens policies and Ms Turei said they were practical responses, "rather than trying to invent new solutions when the solutions are right in front of our face".
Those particular policies had also been chosen "because they can be progressed under a National or Labour government".
The Greens have trumpeted the success of their memorandum of understanding with National under which they had secured policy gains over the last three years including home insulation, pest control, and toxic site clean-up initiatives.
In any new post-election deal with National, "we might be able to progress only one or two of these solutions but that at least is a start", said Ms Turei. "There are opportunities there to use that same model to keep progressing these issues."
She believed the Greens deal benefited National because, "it is to their political advantage to work co-operatively across the political spectrum".
Mr Key said it was too early to discuss any post-election deals but National would not support extending Working for Families to beneficiaries
"The way the system was designed by Michael Cullen under the previous Labour Government was ... to ensure there was a real incentive to work. We wouldn't want to undercut that." He also indicated any swift move to a $15 an hour minimum wage was unlikely because it could threaten jobs.
* Make Working for Families available to beneficiaries. Would affect 140,000 families and cost $300m a year.
* Allow sole parents and sickness beneficiaries access to the Training Incentive Allowance for university studies. Cost $40m a year.
* Raise the minimum wage to $15 an hour. Would give about 275,000 workers a raise of $60 a week.
* Make insulation compulsory for rental homes. Would reduce families' power bills and improve children's health.