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Greens welcome National's tax shift

28 August 2000

Greens welcome National's tax shift

Green Party co-leader Jeanette Fitzsimons today said she welcomed the National Party's talk of adopting core Green Party policy in their advocacy of eco taxes.

National's finance spokesperson Bill English has stated he favours a pollution tax on fossil fuel emissions to take the tax burden off work and to place it onto pollution.

"This is exactly what the Greens campaigned on last election," said Ms Fitzsimons. "Green Parties around the world support lowering taxes on income and work and raising them on waste and pollution. The easiest one to implement is the carbon tax on fossil fuels, which would help us meet our greenhouse obligations under the Kyoto Protocol.

"We welcome good environmental policy from any political party because the environment is much bigger than politics. We would work with anybody who shared our common goal," she said.

Ms Fitzsimons noted that this appears to be a Bill English idea and does not seem to be National Party policy yet.

"If it were adopted as Party policy it would be a huge reversal. I challenged the National government many times in the last few years to introduce a carbon tax and they resolutely opposed it. It was taken to Cabinet more than once by Environment Minister Simon Upton but there was no support. Perhaps it is easier to say in opposition than in government."

Ms Fitzsimons said she believed New Zealanders were keen to see the tax burdon shifted off savings and work and placed on those who compromised the environment and people's health.

"However we do not support the revenue being used to reduce taxes only for the rich. Our policy is to offset the higher costs of fuel by raising the level of income below which no tax is payable, so that all taxpayers benefit equally."

Ends

Jeanette Fitzsimons MP: 04 470 6661, 025 586 068 Jonathan Hill (press secretary): 04 470 6719, 021 110 1133

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