Gordon Campbell | Parliament TV | Parliament Today | Video | Questions Of the Day | Search

 


MANA Movement policy release - Economic Justice

MANA Movement policy release - Economic Justice

Address notes from Mana Economic Justice Spokesperson and co-vice President John Minto to Economic policy launch in Kelston – 2pm, Sunday 20 July 2014.

Reducing inequality and giving everyone a fair go

MANA Movement’s policy prescription for a rich man’s country which is a poor family’s nightmare

Kia ora koutou, nga mihi nui ki a koutou
E nga tangata whenua o tenei rohe – Ngati Whatua – kia ora koutou,
E nga iwi o te motu – nga hau e wha – tena koutou, tena koutou, tena tatou katoa

It’s not hard to see New Zealand has entrenched inequality when
• A worker on the minimum wage pays higher tax rates than billionaire property investors.
• The big banks fleece customers and get to decide for themselves how much tax they will pay.
• The richest 1% have three and a half times more wealth than the poorest 50% of New Zealanders.
• Half our high-net wealth individuals don’t declare enough income to even pay the top tax rate which comes in at $70,000.
• Beneficiaries are pilloried in nasty campaigns for bludging off taxpayers while tax evasion is a way of life for the rich in places like Parnell and Remuera.
• When close to 300,000 children live in poverty and 80,000 children go to school hungry every day.
• When three families share a one-family house or live in cars or cockroach infested caravans.
• When the state has weakened bargaining power of unions so much and wages have fallen so low that the government now subsidises low wages with billions of taxpayer dollars through Working for Families.
• When workers’ share of GDP dropped 20% in the 10 years from 1984 and has stayed the same low level since.

So welcome to the New Zealand created by Labour and National governments over the past 30 years in particular.

Welcome to a rich man’s country and a poor family’s nightmare.

It’s become so outrageous that for the last six years the National government has been borrowing money hand over fist to finance tax cuts for the super wealthy. We now have about $10 billion in extra government debt due to those tax cuts alone – all because John Key wanted to give his rich mates a tax-free pass.

It’s time to change the government.

But change is not enough. Tinkering with the figures won’t put food on the table or fill the lunchboxes. MANA is committed to big, bold economic policies to change the face of New Zealand – to put people at the heart of policy – to create an economy that works for people rather than the other way round.

The government says inequality isn’t getting any bigger so we shouldn’t worry about it. John Key says we should accept forever that wage and salary earners will pay tax on every dollar we earn and every dollar we spend while the very rich pay will pay diddly squat.

MANA rejects that. John Key calls this the politics of envy – MANA calls it the politics of greed.

Workers’ contributions to our society are unrecognized and undervalued. It’s unfair to value work according to what is the least someone will pay you to do a job. Instead we need to look at the social value of the work people do. For example the New Economics Foundation has calculated that a hospital cleaner does work with a social value 13 times higher than what they are paid to do the job. It’s the reverse for a bank CEO who is paid around 13 times more than the value of the work they do.

The pattern which has led to this extreme inequality is clear – weaken unions, drive down pay, increase profits. Then the cycle begins again - casualise work, drive down wages, increase profits. And round and round it goes. It’s a slow squeeze which is driving workers, their families and everyone on low incomes into poverty.

We’ve become good at describing the problems but what’s been lacking are practical plans to deal with it. MANA has those specific policy plans – so let’s get stuck in:

The three big things we must do are:
1. Shift the tax burden from workers, beneficiaries and their families and onto those getting a free ride.
2. Raise the incomes of low-income families.
3. Remove wages from the competition between companies and so remove the ever downward pressure on wages and salaries

1. We must shift the tax burden from workers, beneficiaries and their families and onto those getting a free ride.
• Abolish GST which hits low-income earners hardest.
• Significantly increase the tax take by introducing a tax on financial speculation, called the ‘Hone Heke tax’ (chopping down taxes such as GST), which will be designed using examples of similar taxes introduced overseas. It will be used to replace the $15 billion collected by GST each year, and invest in key policies such as job creation and whānau wellbeing.
• Reduce the tax paid by low income earners by not taxing the first $27,000 earned and reintroduce a progressive tax scale where high income earners pay a higher proportion of income tax.
• Introduce a significant capital gains tax on all but the family home and Māori land.
• Collate all sources of income, including from shares, bonds, property, and investments, to be taxed at an individual’s personal tax rate.
• Reintroduce inheritance tax to be paid on a progressive scale for inheritances valued at over $500,000. This would exclude land held communally on behalf of iwi. Building family dynasties is not part of MANA policy.
• Regulate family trusts and other tax avoidance devices to ensure no tax advantage applies to these or similar structures.
• Expand funding to the IRD to investigate and eliminate corporate tax loopholes.

2. Raise the incomes of low-income earners
a. Increase the minimum wage to $18.80 per hour (a living wage) and index it at 66% of the average wage to ensure it remains a living wage.
b. Repeal youth rates for workers aged 16-17 years.
c. Increase benefit levels to provide a liveable income.
d. Eliminate economic discrimination against the children of beneficiaries, as happens in the current ‘Working for Families’ policy.
e. Work towards implementing a Universal Basic Income where everyone in Aotearoa aged 18 and over would receive a minimum, liveable, tax free income after which progressive tax would kick in. This would eliminate the huge costs involved in administering the current shame and blame WINZ system, and do much to end poverty and address growing inequality.

3. Remove wages from the competition between companies to remove the ever downward pressure on wages and salaries (except for the executive class whose pay has skyrocketed)
a. Support changes to employment relations laws that give workers greater bargaining power to negotiate wages and conditions with theiremployers, including the right to strike.
b. Guarantee workers' security of hours by requiring employers to offer extra hours to existing staff, up to 40 hours per week, before hiring new staff.

Two other parts of the policy I’d like to mention – there should be no surprise about these.

Reduce the cost of living
c. Buy or take back key state assets, like power companies and telecommunications, at the price paid for them (or their market value – whichever is the lower), exclusive of the millions in fees and incentives used to sell them.
d. Abandon the market-based provision of essential services such as electricity and water in favour of non-profit and sustainable provision of those services.

Reduce loan debt
e. Regulate loan sharks and restrict banks’ profit margins on loans, credit cards, and mortgages.

In introducing these big bold policies it’s important to address the big lie the rich keep telling us – that being poor is your own fault.

Not enough income to feed the kids? National tells us parents are to blame for spending money on pokies, booze and the TAB. But hang on – which community in NZ asked for pokies? Which one asked for booze shops on every corner? Which one asked for loan sharks to charge 500% for a piddling loan?

And which government refuses to give local communities the power to close down the pokies, shut the booze shops and deal to loan sharks and fast-food joints?

MANA will crackdown on pokies – we will give local communities the power to drive them out. The same with booze shops, loan sharks and fast-food joints. More details on these policies later in the campaign…

In the meantime when you see the billboards that say Vote Hone Harawira, Annette Sykes and Te Hamua Nikora then get behind the campaign. And to get more MANA MPs into parliament give your party vote to Internet MANA.

ENDS

© Scoop Media

 
 
 
 
 
Parliament Headlines | Politics Headlines | Regional Headlines

Parliament Today: State Opening Of Parliament

The House sits at 10.30am today before MPs are summoned to hear the Speech from the Throne in the Legislative Council Chamber.

The speech delivered by the Governor-General on the Government’s behalf outlines its priorities for this Parliament.

After this MPs will return to the House for the presentation of petitions and papers and the introduction of any bills.

The Government has five notices of motion on the Order Paper which can be debated. These relate to relating to the appointment of the Deputy Speaker, Assistant Speakers, the reinstatement of business in a carryover motion and one on “Entities to be deemed public organisations”. More>>

 

Labour: Review Team Named, Leadership Campaign Starts

Labour’s New Zealand Council has appointed Bryan Gould as Convenor of its post-General Election Review. He will be joined on the Review Team by Hon Margaret Wilson, Stacey Morrison and Brian Corban.

ALSO:


Roy Morgan Poll: National Slips, Labour Hits Lows

The first New Zealand Roy Morgan Poll since the NZ Election shows National 43.5% (down 3.54% since the September 20 Election). This isn’t unusual, National support has dropped after each of John Key’s Election victories... However, support for the main opposition Labour Party has crashed to 22.5% (down 2.63% and the lowest support for Labour since the 1914 NZ Election as United Labour). More>>

ALSO:

In On First Round: New Zealand Wins Security Council Seat

Prime Minister John Key has welcomed New Zealand securing a place on the United Nations Security Council for the 2015-16 term. More>>

ALSO:

TPP Leak: Intellectual Property Text Confirms Risk - Jane Kelsey

The US is continuing its assault on generic medicines through numerous proposed changes to patent laws. ‘These are bound to impact on Pharmac if they are accepted’, according to Professor Kelsey... Copyright is another area of ongoing sensitivity... More>>

ALSO:

RMA: Smith Plans Reform To Ease Urban Development

Newly appointed Environment Minister Nick Smith has announced Resource Management Act reform to foster urban development, where high land prices and expensive resource consents are blocking efforts to provide affordable housing. More>>>

ALSO:

Gordon Campbell: On New Zealand getting involved (again) in other people's wars

Apparently, the Key government is still pondering how New Zealand will contribute to the fight against Islamic State. Long may it ponder, given the lack of consensus among our allies as to how to fight IS, where to fight it (Syria, Iraq, or both?) and with whose ground troops, pray tell? More>>

ALSO:

Gordon Campbell: On child poverty, and David Shearer’s latest outburst

The politicisation of (a) the public service and (b) the operations of the Official Information Act have been highlighted by the policy advice package on child poverty that RNZ’s resolute political editor Brent Edwards has finally prised out of the Ministry of Social Development. More>>

ALSO:

Gordon Campbell: On the government’s review of security laws

So the Key government is about to launch a four week review of the ability of our existing legislation to deal with “suspected and returning foreign terrorist fighters, and other violent extremists.”

According to its terms of reference, the review will consider whether the SIS, GCSB and Police are sufficiently able right now to (a) investigate and monitor suspected and returning foreign terrorist fighters… More>>

ALSO:

Labour Davids: Lisa Owen Interviews David Shearer

David Shearer still mulling whether to stand for Labour leadership but says his family doesn’t think it’s a good idea. Declares that it will be “incredibly divisive” for the Labour caucus if David Cunliffe returns to the role of leader. More>>

ALSO:

Taser Use & False Evidence: Timaru Officers "Failed To Follow Good Policing Practice"

The Authority found that even if Mr Reuben’s contact with the officer was deliberate it amounted to only a minor assault. While it found the use of the OC spray was justified, the use of the Taser was not a proportionate response... More>>

ALSO:

Little Surprise: Andrew Little To Contest Labour Leadership

I have decided to contest the Labour Party leadership. There are three immediate issues to deal with: creating greater cohesion across the caucus, rebuilding the relationship between caucus and the Party and, most importantly getting the process under way to listen to the voters who have abandoned us... More>>

ALSO:

Two Fewer Votes In Recount: "Positive Result" - Harawira

When I applied for a recount of the votes from the Tai Tokerau election, I made it clear that this application was not aimed at overturning the election result, but ensuring that all votes cast by Maori were treated with due respect, regardless of whether those votes are for Labour, Maori Party or MANA. More>>

ALSO:

Get More From Scoop

 

LATEST HEADLINES

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Parliament
Search Scoop  
 
 
Powered by Vodafone
NZ independent news