It's too easy to dismiss the Greens' Poverty Action Plan as a flight of fantasy - pie in the sky stuff that'll never happen.

But think again.

Making policy like they're planning takes power. And while the Greens may not have it at the moment, it could be a very different story after September 19.


The power in this Government lies with the Winston Peters' handbrake party, New Zealand First, the only party in the formal coalition. The Greens' opinion poll rating has been pretty consistent - above the 5 per cent threshold - whereas Labour's coalition cobbers are struggling at 2 to 3 per cent.

So chances are that after September 19, the Greens could well be where NZ First was after the last election and able to make demands - such as moving tax rates for those earning over a hundred grand to 37 per cent, and those on $150,000 having 42 per cent of their income going into the government's pocket. Currently, they're paying the top rate of 33 per cent.

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The money earned there, and on taxing the wealthy (those with assets worth a million) being clobbered with a 1 per cent tax on anything above that - or 2 per cent on anything over $2 million - will go on a universal income. That means paying everyone not in full-time work $325 a week, which would include students.

It's a design for the redistribution of wealth, which Winston Peters says is nuts and nothing more than an envy tax. He likened it in a tweet to the view of Winston Churchill, who said taxing your way to prosperity is like a man standing in a bucket trying to lift himself up by the handle.

Consider this: Our tax brackets move earners on to the top rate once they hit $70,000, hardly enough to make ends meet, certainly with a family in Auckland. Today, 790,000 workers pay the top rate, and that number is growing.

But if you look at who's paying the lion's share in terms of dollars, those earning above a hundred grand a year pay 42 per cent of the income tax take.

If the Greens were serious about people paying a bit more, they should be progressively moving the income brackets above the piddling $70,000 (and forget the nutty universal income which is a disincentive for anyone to end up having anything to envy).


But the Greens are serious. They haven't ruled out their plan being a deal-breaker during coalition negotiations, and without Labour having another potential coalition partner at least they'll have an ear.

Labour was hammered on tax during the last election campaign. They should bear that in mind and distance themselves from it.

Smiling all the way to the ballot box if that doesn't happen will be National, which will be out selling what a Labour/Greens coalition could look like. And so too will be handbrake Peters, who'll be out there reminding the electorate of what he stopped Labour from doing (and there are plenty of examples) including the dead rats he forced the Greens to swallow because of his interference.

But as a reminder to Jacinda Ardern of what could be on the horizon, Julie Anne Genter tweeted: This is what transformational really looks like.