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Greens' economic policy is no left turn

Alliance Party says Greens' economic policy is no left turn

Alliance Party Media Release-FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE-Friday, October 24th, 2008

The Greens revealed their true colours this week when they revealed their economic policy, says Alliance list candidate Matthew Stephen.

"While we welcome the Greens adopting the Alliance's policies of a capital gains tax and a tax on international currency movements, we are concerned at how little the Greens are offering those at the bottom of the economic system."

The Greens say they will give everyone a tax cut. We say those on the highest incomes can afford to pay a bit more to help those with a fraction of their wealth. The Alliance would give a tax cut to the 67 percent of New Zealanders who earn under $41,000, while increasing taxes progressively on those on higher incomes. "We want to see New Zealand once again be a beacon of progress to the world in terms of social equality," says Mr Stephen. "We would use economic policy as part of a broader societal shift to an economy that serves the needs of the people."

The Green proposal to shift taxes from incomes to resource use will have a regressive impact on incomes and make New Zealand and even more highly unequal country. New Zealand is already one of the most unequal countries in the OECD, having a more unequal distribution of incomes than Australia, and even class-ridden Britain. "How much longer can we go down this path of increasing inequality, and expect the poor to suffer the burden of climate change?" says Mr Stephen.

Despite the Greens' commitment to improving the food New Zealanders eat, they have backed away from advocating the removal of GST from food, which would have been a quick and simple way to reduce the cost of fresh fruit and vegetables. Furthermore, taxes on resources as the Greens favour tend to have a regressive impact on income distribution. For example, raising the tax on petrol means someone earning minimum wage pays the same tax on that petrol as someone who earns millions each year. Mr Stephen says that only a democratic socialist government can manage the transition to a sustainable economy and spread the costs equitably over the population.

Mr Stephen ended with a call to Green Party members to show their commitment to progressive taxation: "Ultimately, this shows the superficiality of the Green commitment to social justice. Greens who want an egalitarian society founded on ecological rationalism will have to ask themselves whether they're in the right party."


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