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Parties missing point on tax discussion - Greens

Other political parties were missing the point over tax issues, by failing to focus on what was being taxed, the Green Party said today.

Referring to an Auckland seminar this morning where National, Labour, the Alliance, ACT and New Zealand First argued about tax and other economic policies, Green Party Co-Leader Jeanette Fitzsimons said the big tax question was being omitted.

"The incentives our tax system create are just as important as the revenue it raises," she said today. "The discussion should be about whether the current system targets the right areas of society.

"National and ACT in particular, but other parties as well, talk about high taxes discouraging employment and economic activity, but we're saying there are ways of using the tax system to encourage both, with a side benefit of personal tax cuts for many people. "Taxes should be shifted off income and enterprise and on to waste and pollution."

A carbon tax on fossil fuel would reduce greenhouse gas emissions and encourage use of renewable forms of energy. A tax on toxic materials would reduce spray drift, over-use of pesticides and encourage organic farming, she said.

These taxes could then be used to remove tax off the bottom band of income - the first $5000 of income. It would help the low paid and encourage more employment, Ms Fitzsimons said.


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