Focusing On The Big Picture, Asking The Hard Questions

Soon the election year lolly scramble will begin. Politicians of all stripes will throw out handfuls of the sweets they think people like the most – that will get them the most votes. Nothing wrong with that. No votes no power, after all.

But a good government needs good policies, not just charismatic popular politicians who give the sound bites people want to hear. To avoid Brexit/Trump style disasters, voters need to be a lot more savvy than the politicians that seek to represent them. Continue reading

Three Cheers for Tax and Spend!

Our Economic Development Minister Steven Joyce cries “tax and spend” like it’s a bad thing. But that makes no sense. What other option does a government have?

Tax is virtually the only source of income for our government and is used to pay for the things we all benefit from; the justice system, transport, education, health, social security, science and innovation, trade development, even Mr Joyce’s own salary and that of the departments he is responsible for. Personal taxes provide the largest portion of this income. Continue reading

Tax justice petition presented at Parliament

Tax justice petition presentation at Parliament, Wellington, 16 August 2011

Representatives of many supporting groups and unions attended the presentation of the Tax Justice petition to take GST off food and introduce a financial transactions tax, at Parliament Buildings in Wellington today.

The petition was received by Labour MP Su’a William Sio, and attended by Green and Mana MPs.

The Tax Justice campaign is a joint initiative of the Alliance Party and Socialist Worker.

 

 

A big day for a tiny tax on 22 June

Wednesday 22 June 2011 has been declared a “big day for a tiny tax”, highlighting the need for a worldwide financial transactions tax to curb financial speculation and provide the necessary funds to eradicate poverty and protect the environment.  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.

Launch of campaign to remove GST from food and tax financial speculation

The Alliance Party and Socialist Worker are jointly launching a nationwide tax campaign on Saturday 22 May.

The campaign will champion tax changes that will benefit grassroots New Zealanders.

The campaign will be built around a petition sponsored by both the Alliance Party and Socialist Worker, which requests parliament to:

1. Remove GST from food; and
2. Tax financial speculation.

“These two demands will address imbalances in the tax system, which sees grassroots people having to pay tax on one of life’s necessities, food, while financial speculation goes untaxed,” says campaign coordinator Vaughan Gunson.

“This imbalance will be made worse when the National government delivers the 2010 budget, where GST will almost certainly be increased to 15%,” says Gunson.

“Our campaign will be launched at street petition stalls around the country just two days after the budget announcement, we can expect a lot of support,” says Gunson. “The majority of New Zealanders believe taxing food is wrong.”

“Taxing financial speculation through the introduction of a small percentage Financial Transaction Tax (FTT) would easily fund the removal of GST on food,” says Gunson. “At the same time an FTT would help discourage financial speculation, which destabilises the economy and causes untold harm to ordinary people, as the global financial crisis has proven.”

For more information and comment contact,

Vaughan Gunson
Campaign coordinator
(09)433 8897
021-0415 082
svpl@xtra.co.nz

or

Victor Billot
Media spokesperson
021-482 219
victor@victorbillot.com

Maori Party needs to demonstrate principle over GST hike

Alliance Economic Development spokesperson Quentin Findlay has congratulated the Maori Party MP, Rahui Katene for stating that the Maori Party could consider walking away from their coalition agreement with the National-led Government if GST was increased to 15%.

Mr Findlay said that it was a principled comment that recognised the reality of the situation – an increase in GST would be unfair and could not be offset by any compensation to lower waged workers.

He says that beneficiaries, students and superannuitants could only expect a small increase that would not cover GST fuelled price increases on basic living essentials such as food, power and phone.

“This National Government has already shown its hostility to workers with its pitiful 25 cent increase to the minimum wage and its statements to public sector workers that they should not expect wage or salary increases.”

“GST is an indirect and regressive tax and it’s good to see that the Maori Party recognises that an increase in GST would hurt lower to middle income earners.”

Mr Findlay noted that the tax issue was one of the defining moments for the National-led Government and the Maori Party needed to stand by its principles in relation to it.

“It is quite obvious that National is listening less to the Maori Party and more to ACT. As a result this Government has now decided to impose economic and tax reforms that benefit the rich while penalising the poorer sections of the community.”

Mr Findlay noted that it was, however, one thing for the Maori Party to recognise the danger in raising GST and another thing to take action.

“When and if push comes to shove, the Maori Party needs to stand by its principles and act and if that means leaving the coalition then it should do so.”

The Alliance Party supports phasing out GST and introducing a progressive tax system.

We need a Robin Hood tax – not a "robbin' the people" tax

The Alliance Party is supporting a new campaign to introduce a tax on banks and finance institutions that is creating waves in the UK.

The new campaign is called the “Robin Hood Tax” and proposes a financial transactions tax that is about “turning a crisis for bankers into an opportunity for the world.”

Alliance Party spokesperson Victor Billot says the Alliance is advocating a Financial Transactions Tax for New Zealand that is basically the same as the Robin Hood tax.

A Financial Transactions Tax would be charged on all withdrawals or purchases at a rate of 0.02 % or 2 cents per $100. This would have no impact on ordinary people but only on large financial transactions.

The Financial Transactions Tax or “Robin Hood tax” could contribute towards the phasing out of GST, a regressive tax that hits ordinary people hard.

Mr Billot says the Robin Hood tax is the way ahead, not John Key’s proposed increase in GST which is about “robbin’ the people.”

He says that it’s not surprising given John Key’s background in the corporate finance sector in the UK, which played a major role in the global economic crisis, that he prefers taxes to be paid by the majority while letting a small minority dodge their responsibilities.

Mr Billot says it is repulsive that John Key’s plan to cut the top rate of income tax could see the Prime Minister get potentially hundreds of dollars extra a week, directly subsidized by rises in GST which would hit families hard on basics like bread and fresh vegetables in supermarkets.