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Hey Labour, why not support GST off food?

Hey Labour, why not support GST off food?

Labour Party MPs are currently touring the country in the "Axe the Tax" bus opposing the National government's plans to raise GST from 12.5% to 15%.

Vaughan Gunson, spokesperson for RAM-Residents Action Movement, says: "If the Labour Party really wants to "Axe the Tax", then they should support the campaign to remove GST from food."

The GST off food campaign was initiated by RAM in 2008. Close to 30,000 people signed RAM's GST-off-food petition in the lead up to the 2008 General Election. Maori Party MP Hone Harawira received the petition on the steps of parliament. The Maori Party remains the only parliamentary party to support GST off food.

"Phil Goff has said that Labour won't support Maori Party MP Rahui Katene's private members bill to take GST off healthy foods," says Gunson. "But I'm sure when Mr Goff speaks to Grey Power in Whangarei tomorrow there'll be many people in the audience who would like to hear him reverse his stance. Retired people - particularly those on low incomes - were among the staunchest supporters of removing GST from food."

"With everyone's grocery bills getting higher and higher, taking GST off food would make a big difference to a lot of people in these tough economic times," says Gunson.

"The tax revenue lost could easily be replaced - and plus some - by introducing a Robin Hood Tax," says Gunson. "A Robin Hood Tax is the name a popular campaign in Britain has given to a Financial Transaction Tax (FTT), which aims to make the banks pay more tax."

"A small percentage tax on financial transactions, say 0.5% or 1%, would raise billions of tax revenue from the banks and other big corporates, including the global financial speculators who buy and sell the Kiwi dollar, one of the world's most traded currencies," says Gunson.

For more on why a Robin Hood Tax is an idea whose time has come, refer to these recent articles by John Minto, Finlay MacDonald and Barry Coates.

"Here's a challenge to Phil Goff and the Labour Party," says Gunson, "why not keep the axe out and support the campaign to remove GST from food, and endorse the Robin Hood Tax as an alternative. This would be a decisive step towards tax justice, which the majority of New Zealanders would welcome."

Phil Goff is currently on a tour of Northland and will be speaking tomorrow (Thursday 11 March) to a Grey Power meeting, 1.30pm to 3.30pm at the Kamo Club, 13 Meldrum St, Kamo, Whangarei.

Vaughan Gunson will be available for more comment at the meeting venue.


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