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Real alternative to GST is there says Alliance

Real alternative to GST is there says Alliance Party

Alliance Party Media Release – For Immediate Release, Friday October 3, 2008

The Alliance Party has congratulated the Residents Action Movement (RAM) who today presented a petition to Parliament calling for the abolition of GST on food.

This petition was received by Maori Party MPs, who support the call. But no one is talking turkey over how wiping GST on food can realistically be achieved, says Alliance Party list candidate, Sarah Campbell.

"We need to talk about why GST should be abolished, and as to how we can afford this. This is not just a question of making food cheaper because people are struggling as it is, but it is more a matter of economic justice and of being fair to all New Zealanders," says Ms Campbell.

The Alliance Party supports wiping GST on food, and has a fully costed alternative budget that shows how this consumption based tax can be replaced by a financial transactions tax, where basic financial transactions are taxed at the small rate of 2 cents per $100. The revenue from this tax would be entirely dedicated to removing the GST from food. Alliance policy is to work toward removing GST entirely, but its removal from food would be an immediate priority for the party.

"GST is an unfair tax because those on lower incomes spend a higher proportion of their incomes on basic commodities such as food, and therefore pay a higher proportion of their incomes in tax. It's a regressive tax, and that is the opposite of what Alliance policy is about," she says.

A financial transactions tax (FTT) would be a very small amount to most New Zealanders – far less than they are currently paying in GST – but it would draw its biggest funds from the realms of currency speculation and money trading that made the likes of John Key unconscionably rich. While everyday New Zealanders in 2008 pay 12.5% GST, and do not have the option of moving their funds to Cayman Islands holding corporations, these Business Roundtable jockeys manage to move millions around the globe and through New Zealand markets without contributing to the future of New Zealand's education, health, or infrastructure.

But the tide is turning. The financial crisis is raising awareness of continuing structural inequalities in the world, and in New Zealand, and the public aren't going to swallow it anymore.
"New Zealand is responding to the idea of GST off food, but it's about more than cheaper cheese, and I think people know that. It's about a fairer future for all Kiwis and the Alliance can show you the money!" she stated.


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