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Greens' James Shaw says wealth tax is 'priority' but not a 'bottom line' for Labour coalition

James Shaw says his party's proposed wealth tax policy will be a top priority, but it is not a “bottom line” when it comes to coalition talks with the next Government.

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The party’s co-leader debated a wealth tax with Act leader David Seymour on Breakfast today. Source: Breakfast

The Green Party co-leader appeared alongside ACT's David Seymour to talk all things tax on Breakfast's political panel this morning.

Yesterday, it was reported that Green MP Julie Anne Genter had told a small business panel discussion the tax policy was a "bottom line" condition that needed to be met for her party to join into a second coalition Government with Labour, assuming next month's election goes both parties' way.

Shaw this morning confirmed Genter’s comment, but told host John Campbell the Green Party “doesn’t do bottom lines”.

“We do priorities and we’ve got six that we’re taking into this election. Julie-Anne did use that language yesterday.

“We don’t use bottom lines because what we want to see is a Labour-led Government with Jacinda Ardern as the Prime Minister and the Green Party back in Parliament and part of that Government.”

The Greens' wealth tax policy would see New Zealanders with a net-worth greater than $1 million pay out one per cent of their wealth as tax.

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The proposal would see a wealth tax on millionaires and that money would be used to help Kiwis in poverty. Source: 1 NEWS

Those worth more than $2 million would pay two per cent.

But Seymour argued a wealth tax doesn't work. He said Finland, Germany, Austria "and a whole lot of other European countries" have been abandoning capital taxes. 

"What we need is investment, jobs and growth," he said. 

ACT is proposing a middle-income tax cut if elected. It would temporarily cut GST to 10 per cent and permanently cut the marginal tax rate paid by those on the median wage from 30 per cent to 17.5 per cent.

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Seymour says what the Greens are really proposing with their wealth tax is that people who are cash poor and asset rich "will get a reverse mortgage to pay their tax". 

But Shaw is confident it could work. 

"David was saying before that other countries were abandoning wealth taxes. Some are, but that's because the threshold that they've set is so low. 

"If you have a high threshold and you apply it evenly it becomes much more workable."