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.

Time to give flat tax concept a decent burial

Alliance Party co leader Kay Murray says it is time for National and ACT to get over their fixation with flat tax and return to reality.

“Flat tax is an outdated idea of the 1980’s. All flat tax does is give the already wealthy a license to print money while destroying the living standards of low to middle income earners, the majority of the population. The flat tax theory is about as credible as the flat earth theory.”

Ms Murray says the introduction of flat tax would spell the demise of the welfare state.

“Something all New Zealanders should resist, especially since we have been credited with being the first country in the world enlightened enough to introduce a welfare state that includes public health, education and social security for all citizens.” Continue reading

Tax cuts help John Key's mates but leave ordinary New Zealanders out in the cold

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The Alliance says National’s tax cuts are a complete fiasco that punish the poor and starve the nation of vital social spending.

Alliance Party co-leader Kay Murray says anyone earning under $24,000 misses out completely.

“People on this income level desperately need a break to deal with spiralling basic costs such as food, housing and transport.”

She says the tax cuts are an attack on low income earners, and make no real difference to middle income earners, as they starve spending on health, education and other important social services. Continue reading

Alliance tax plan helps 67% of Kiwis

The Alliance Party has released its tax plan as part of its alternative budget, calling for a major overhaul of New Zealand’s taxation system to assist low to middle income earners, and to pay for free education and a substantial boost for health spending including free doctor’s visits.

Alliance finance and taxation spokesperson Professor Jim Flynn says one of the key goals of the Alliance is to restore a fair tax system based on ability to pay.

“Under an Alliance Government, a total of $3.57 billion dollars extra will be paid by the top 33%, particularly those who earn over $100,000 per year, but we give tax relief to the bottom 67%. The break-even point will be $41,000, that is, a family with two wage-earners each making that amount will pay no more tax.”

Professor Flynn says the budget would see a new deal for pensioners and beneficiaries

“The first $10,000 of income would be exempt from tax. This applies to everyone, but it would most benefit those on low incomes. Adjustments will be made so that those on Government superannuation and benefits are included.”

The Alliance tax plan would also provide a massive boost for low income New Zealanders struggling to make ends meet, says Professor Flynn. Continue reading

Alliance Party calls for phase out of GST starting with food

The Alliance Party has called for GST on food to be scrapped – and the entire tax to be phased out.

Alliance Party co-leader Kay Murray says “GST on food will have to go now if basic food items are to remain affordable for New Zealanders.”

Ms Murray says that figures from the Council of Trade Unions show food prices rose 6% in the past year and are set to continue to rise this year.

“Removing GST would at least allow some breathing space while other long term measures are put in place to keep food affordable. Australia doesn’t have GST on basic food items. If the Australians can manage it surely we can too.” Continue reading