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Clamour for Tax Cuts Obscene

12 October 2006

Clamour for Tax Cuts Obscene

QPEC is deeply angered at the clamour from business interests for tax cuts when our education system is drifting towards a two-tier system based on user pays.

The Business Roundtable and some business analysts have called for tax cuts for businesses along with handouts for high and middle income earners. However cutting the corporate tax rate and "flattening" the tax scales will put more money in the hands of the wealthy and continue our huge levels of social deprivation.

The large government surplus reflects a lack of investment in social infrastructure. In education for example -

· Underfunding in early childhood education means that some kindergartens are putting in eftpos machines for parents to pay for early childhood education
· Schools fees and "voluntary" donations have increased dramatically over the past decade and the quality of education received in state schools is increasingly dependent on the ability of parents to pay
· Tertiary education fees continue to rise at greater than the rate of inflation (Auckland and Canterbury fees will rise by 5% next year and Massey University is seeking a 10% increase) and reduce opportunities for students from low income communities

On top of this poverty levels have increased even further in recent years and urgent investment in families is needed. For example the proportion of Pacific Island families suffering severe hardship rose from 16% to 30% from 2000 to 2004. Over the same period the proportion of Maori families in the severe hardship category increased from 11% to 20%. These figures come from the government itself and are found in the Ministry of Social Development's Living Standards Report from 2004 which was released in July this year.

Before putting a triple lining in the pockets of New Zealand's wealthy elite there is a mountain of investment needed in our social infrastructure, our families and children which must take precedence.


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