When I say "Gareth Morgan", you say ...

"Cats." Of course you say cats.

That's what he gets for proposing an eradication mission against the country's most loved pets.

He has since suffered a credibility issue because if we can't trust him with our pets, how can we trust him with beneficiaries?


Yet he's actually worth listening to, especially in an election year void of good ideas for the country's future.

Even though Gareth Morgan claims his recently-launched The Opportunities Party is aiming for the 5 per cent of the vote it needs to carry it into Parliament, I'm not sure he means to get there.

I wonder if the party isn't just an expensive and clever way to get us to listen to him.

Because, remember, for years Morgan has spent loads of his enormous wealth on the Morgan Foundation, tasked with thinking of ways to fix the broken parts of our country.

And so we should listen.

So far this week, he has made two suggestions.

The first is that landlords can't evict tenants for any reason other than failure to pay rent or damage to the property. Selling the house? Still can't kick them out.

That's a brilliant idea if you're looking for a way to drop investment property prices, a dumb idea if you like the idea of an buying an investment property.


Most of us will consider it dumb.

Morgan also announced his welfare policy: unconditional basic income.

If that phrase rings a bell, it will be because the Labour Party timidly suggested something similar last year - the universal basic income - then took a public slapping.

Former Prime Minister John Key labelled it "barking mad".

Except it is not barking mad. It is being trialled in countless countries and states across the world. Not everyone is convinced it works, but it has fans in such progressive thinkers as Elon Musk, the man behind Tesla cars.

The idea is every citizen gets $200 a week. To pay for that we scrap pensions, allowances and benefits, except when a top up is needed.

Then we raise taxes so those of us who don't need the $200 pay it back, making us theoretically no worse off.

It means we can finally downsize our complex and bloated welfare system, which costs us $29.8 billion a year, or more than 11 cents out of every dollar this country has.

Then there's the tax idea Gareth Morgan unveiled last year.

It's complicated and he didn't sell it well, but his point is this: why are workers paying a third of their income in tax when we aren't taxing the assets of the wealthy who are so rich they don't need to work? If you tax more assets, you can drop income tax rates.

Again, it is progressive, but pensions were progressive 140 years ago and now look at how we love them. And besides, what alternative ideas are there this election?

On one side we have the Labour Party, which promised to change superannuation during two elections then abandoned that conviction, really liked Capital Gains Tax then abandoned that conviction, and is now promising future tax reform but, heck, it might abandon that, too.

On the other side we have the National Party, which has mastered the art of looking busy while doing nothing. It spent the money Labour saved through the noughties.

It changed the names of welfare payments and called it reform. It pretended to change superannuation but built in obstacles to prevent it ever happening.

Things are not always going to be as economically rosy as they are now.

Maybe we will ignore the cat guy this election cycle, but the longer we do that while the two main parties refuse to be bold, the more likely we will one day need these 'progressive' ideas to rescue us.