Everyone is Entitled to a Place to Call ‘Home’

The Alliance believes that to solve the housing crisis we need a radical rethink on the role of housing. It sounds self evident but we need to start from the premise that a house is for people to live in, a home, and everyone is entitled to one.

We need to embrace article 25 of the United Nations Declaration of Universal Rights which lists housing as a basic right. If we do this as a country, making sure everyone has warm dry affordable housing must become one of the main jobs for every government.

This may be painful for some. Houses tend to be seen as a safe investment, a good way to make money, particularly in the deregulated environment of the past 30 odd years. During this time government involvement in housing has been frowned upon. “The market will provide,” we were told. Quite clearly it hasn’t. Time to move on! Continue reading

Alliance tax plan would rebuild a civilized New Zealand

The Alliance Party is calling for a major overhaul of New Zealand’s taxation system to assist low to middle income earners, and to pay for free access to high quality public goods including health and education. Continue reading

Labour are welcome to borrow Alliance capital gains tax policy

The Alliance Party has congratulated the Labour Party on adopting its capital gains tax policy.
Alliance Party co-leader Kay Murray says Labour should have introduced the capital gains tax during its last term in office.
This may have helped make housing more affordable during the so-called housing boom during the last Labour Government.
Continue reading

No GST on food – Join us for launch of tax justice campaign!

The nationwide campaign to remove GST from food and tax financial speculation is being launched this Saturday 22 May.

That’s two days after National’s budget where a hike in GST to fund tax cuts for the rich was announced.

All supporters of our tax justice campaign are welcome to attend the petition stalls organised by Socialist Worker (www.UNITYblogNZ.com) and the Alliance (www.alliance.org.nz).

Here are the times and venues for this Saturday’s petition stalls:

Whangarei
8am-10am, Whangarei Growers’ Market, Water Street

Auckland
12noon-3pm, outside Onehunga Supermarket, cnr Church Street & Selwyn Street, Onehunga.

Rotorua
9am-3pm, Rotorua City Focus, Tutanekai Street.

Tauranga
9am-12noon, Chadwick Road (opposite the post office), Greerton.

Wellington
11am-12noon, Lower Hutt Markets, Riverbank carpark.

Christchurch
11am, The Square (next to the chalice).

Dunedin
10am-12noon, The Octagon.

At the stalls we will be collecting signatures on the tax petition, which has the following wording:

We request Parliament to:
• Remove GST from food.
• Tax financial speculation.

The campaign has a website up and running, ‘No GST on Food’, go to http://www.nogstonfood.org/. Updates on the campaign will be posted there.

National's budget "blueprint for social breakdown"

National’s budget announced today is pushing New Zealand further down the road of inequality and social breakdown, says the Alliance Party.

Alliance Party spokesperson Victor Billot says the budget achieved two key goals for National: redistributing wealth from the needy to the greedy, and starving social spending.

“For most people, the so-called tax cut will have vanished by the time they get to the end of the first aisle in the supermarket.”

He says that what is most disturbing is the budget gives someone like John Key hundreds of dollars a week extra but leaves the most vulnerable families in New Zealand with nothing.

“The priorities of this National Government are to shovel cash at people like the Prime Minister who will be laughing all the way to his mid winter break in his Hawaii condo.”

“Yet the thousands of struggling families working shift work, long hours, for low pay, get a few coins.”

He says the budget is literally taking food out of the mouths of children from poor families to pay for flash restaurant dinners for CEOs.

“The increase in GST is essentially immoral at a time of mass unemployment, and food and housing costs going through the roof.”

Mr Billot called on the Maori Party to step away from their coalition with National which was permitting this attack.

“If they don’t make a stand now, they will have allowed the most blatant attack on low income communities both Maori and Pakeha to proceed.”

The Alliance has a tax plan that is aimed at creating a balanced and equal society that had a long term future.

Income tax would be heavily reduced on lower incomes, and raised on high incomes, a progressive tax system that would relieve the worst pressures and poverty in New Zealand.

The Alliance would phase out GST and replace it with a Financial Transactions Tax, an increasingly popular alternative.

The Alliance would also introduce a capital gains tax, to tax speculation rather than productive work.

The Alliance Party has joined with Socialist Worker to launch a petition this Saturday 22 May campaigning to remove GST off food and introduce a Financial Transactions Tax.

John Key plays the role of "Sheriff of Nottingham"

The proposed rise in GST makes the Prime Minister John Key “Robin Hood in reverse” says the Alliance Party, which probably means he is playing the role of the Sheriff of Nottingham – robbing from the poor to help the rich.

Alliance Party spokesperson Victor Billot says an increase on GST to 15% to offset tax cuts for the wealthy is taking money from the pockets of struggling families on the breadline.

The rise in GST will subsidize unaffordable income tax cuts to people such as John Key, and indeed all MPs, whose incomes are far above the average.

Mr Billot says the idea that GST increases are somehow going to encourage savings amongst working people is bamboozling.

“He obviously doesn’t understand the difference between a family struggling to ‘consume’ food, rent and power bills, and a family who are ‘consuming’ unnecessary top end luxuries.”

Mr Billot says amongst the “anti tax” rhetoric there seems to be a lack of appreciation that without taxation, New Zealand and indeed civilization itself, would collapse.

“The great gains in public health, education, welfare, infrastructure and services of the past century have all been funded through taxation, and are now at threat by irresponsible Government’s beholden to powerful private interests.”

The lack of any serious moves on a capital gains tax was also a major failure.

Mr Billot says that major business figures have recently called for capital gains tax and even currency movement taxes, so these policies were quite mainstream.

“However, as National seems to represent the unproductive speculation sector that is whom their policies are helping.”

“What has happened to the affordability of housing under National and Labour in the last few years is a national disgrace, the full effects of which are only beginning to be seen.”

The Alliance proposes a major change in New Zealand’s tax system, phasing out GST and reducing income tax on lower income earners through a stepped progressive tax system.

Progressive income tax would mean higher taxes paid by those who can afford it (such as John Key), a capital gains tax on investment property (not family homes) and also a financial transactions tax on movement of money that would only affect larger transactions.

Tax Working Group flawed in its anti-social focus

A tax system for New Zealand’s future“, the report from the Government’s Tax Working Group, is predictable and flawed in its negative, anti-social focus.

Alliance Party co-leader Kay Murray says that a lot of effort seems to be going into promoting ways of making life more comfortable for well off people who don’t want to contribute their share of taxes to keep New Zealand running.

She says it appears the Tax Working Group, comprised of high income males, is recommending a tax system that benefits high income males.

“There seems to be little recognition of the positive role taxation plays in creating a progressive society where all people can reach their potential and the worst excesses of poverty and insecurity have been ended.”

Ms Murray says the idea that reducing taxes on the already wealthy will make New Zealand a better place to live is a discredited and anti-social idea.

“With all the noise about New Zealand catching up with Australia, then perhaps we should follow the Australian example, where the marginal income tax rate on earnings over $180,000 is 45 cents in the dollar.”

“Tax is required for a civilized society, ensuring public health care and education, and ensuring unemployment, sickness and old age are not the personal catastrophes they were in the bad old days the National Party wants to return to.”

Ms Murray says low income and middle income earners certainly stand to lose from such measures as increasing GST and lowering the top tax bracket.

She says the Tax Working Group should not be setting out to cave in to individuals whose goal in life was getting a free ride at everyone else’s expense, but to close loopholes and ensure that the tax base could support a secure and fair society.

Ms Murray says that the Alliance supports a progressive tax system that would reduce the tax burden on low to middle income earners, phase out GST and introduce a capital gains tax on investment property and a financial transactions tax focussed on large movements of money.

In addition, the Alliance had a fully costed budget for its policies including tax tables, unlike many other parties.