GST off rates would swing resources to local communities
5 October 2013
GST off rates would swing resources back to local communities, away from Wellington
“Removing GST from rates would be a quick first step to swinging more resources back to local communities, away from centralisation in Wellington,” says Vaughan Gunson, Coastal North candidate for the Northland Regional Council.
“Removing GST would either allow for a rates decrease, or if the rates amount was kept at the current GST inclusive levels, more money would be available to local bodies to spend on socially beneficial projects,” says Gunson.
New Zealand is currently one of the most
centralised states in the world, with only 11 per cent of
public money spent at the local level.
(See 'Calls for public services to be funded by local government' by Brian Fallow, NZ Herald, 3 Oct, http://www.nzherald.co.nz/politics/news/article.cfm?c_id=280&objectid=11133777)
Local Government NZ chief executive Malcolm Alexander has said that having more public services provided for at the local level would encourage greater participation in the electoral process.
“The likely low vote turnout is a strong indication that the system isn’t working and people don’t feel that their vote in a local body election is going to count in any meaningful way,” says Gunson.
“If local councils were in charge of providing more
public services then the political process would be
revitalised, because decisions made might impact directly on
(See 'Bryce Edwards: Politics round-up: Why you shouldn't vote', NZ Herald, 4 Oct, for more on this debate, http://www.nzherald.co.nz/nz/news/article.cfm?c_id=1&objectid=11134845)
“More control and responsibility for resources at the local level would empower comunities to come up with creative ideas in response to economic and envioronmental challenges. The heavy hand of central government is often a dead weight upon grassroots creativity and initiative,” says Gunson.
Gunson is calling for local body councillors throughout the country to start promoting GST off rates, so that nationwide pressure can be applied to the government.
Vaughan Gunson was the national coordinator of the Tax Justice campaign (2010-11) which called for GST to be removed from all food. A petition signed by 40,000 people was presented to parliament in 2011. The campaign was successful in putting pressure on the Labour Party to adopt a policy of GST off healthy food.
Vaughan Gunson is standing for the Coastal North constituency of the Northland Regional Council. For more detail on the issues he is standing for go to http://www.vote.co.nz/2013/candidates/vaughan-gunson-11153