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Better services the top priority - Greens

19 December 2007

Better services the top priority - Greens

The first priority for the possible $1.5 billion tax cuts should be environmental protection, public health and public education, the Green Party says.

"However, if the Government does push ahead with the proposed cuts next year they should be fairly distributed to all taxpayers rather than targeted to those at the top," Co-Leader Jeanette Fitzsimons says.

Most New Zealanders, given a choice between an extra $15 a week and better public transport, proper child cancer services and smaller classes in schools, would forgo the tax cut.

"Our environment is under immense pressure on a number of fronts, especially our rivers and the failure to reduce greenhouse emissions.

"While as a nation we are proud of our history of providing mostly free public education, many parents find themselves struggling to pay school fees in our supposedly free system.

"Many patients are facing long delays and living with frustration and illness because the public health system is not everything it should be.

"We need to be sure that these vital areas are receiving proper funding. A tax cut will mean little if our environment is unhealthy and our education and health systems are failing to deliver. The $1.5 billion the Government is considering putting into tax cuts, would go a long way towards paying for these.

"If the Government does decide to proceed with tax cuts, then they should be given to all taxpayers not just the few at the top. A $1.5 billion tax cut, around $15 per week per taxpayer, isn't much for someone earning $200,000, but is quite a lot for the 200,000 people on the minimum wage."


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