PHOTO: 123RF Do you feel as though you have enough?

ANALYSIS: There’s nothing like talk of a new tax to focus people’s attention on how well-off (or otherwise) they are really feeling.

But when the Green Party unveiled its proposals at the weekend, it made some people wonder – what does “wealth” really mean in New Zealand these days?

The Greens proposed a guaranteed income of $325 a week for those not in full-time work, paid for by a 1 per cent annual tax on net individual wealth of more than $1 million, and 2 per cent over $2m.

The party also wants two higher income tax brackets, for those earning over $100,000 and $150,000.


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But is that really “wealthy”? We set out to find out.

Without delving into individuals’ circumstances to work out what bills they’re paying with their six-figure income – or how many kids they have living in their mortgage-free $1 million house – the best way to determine who’s “well-off” is probably to look at wealth levels in comparison to the rest of New Zealand.


You’ve probably heard that the median wage for New Zealanders is about $52,000 a year.

But that hides a lot of variation.

There were about 71,500 people being paid minimum wage (which has now risen to $18.90 an hour) in 2018 – disproportionately young people and those working part-time.