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Tax Justice welcomes the active support of unions

Tax Justice welcomes the active support of unions

The Tax Justice campaign welcomes the active support of three campaigning unions. The Service and Food Workers Union (SFWU), National Distribution Union (NDU), and Maritime Union of New Zealand (MUNZ) have officially endorsed the Tax Justice petition and are helping to collect signatures.

“Unions have long played a progressive role in New Zealand society. These three unions are backing the Tax Justice campaign because removing GST from food and taxing financial speculation would help shift the tax burden off working people and onto the big corporates and super-rich,” says Vaughan Gunson, Tax Justice campaign coordinator.

Maritime Union of New Zealand General Secretary Joe Fleetwood says workers should get in behind the Tax Justice campaign in 2011: "National's tax cuts for millionaires were unaffordable and irresponsible. Instead of giving income tax cuts to people on high incomes like John Key, we should remove GST on food to help those struggling with the weekly bills.”

“A Financial Transactions Tax would ensure we could pay for vital public services including health and education, by taxing unproductive financial speculation. It's time to give a break to working people who create the wealth of our society and start taxing those whose activities have no benefit," says Joe Fleetwood.

John Ryall, Service and Food Workers Union National Secretary says: “The SFWU has always been opposed to regressive taxes such as GST, which penalises New Zealanders on the lowest incomes. The introduction of GST and the corresponding tax cuts for the rich in the 1980s had a big impact on the growth of economic inequality in this country. The increase in GST last year furthered this trend.”

“The SFWU supports the demands of the Tax Justice campaign for GST to be removed from food and the lost government revenue to be replaced with a tax on financial speculators.”

“It’s time inequality in this country was addressed. The measures promoted by the Tax Justice campaign are a good step in this direction,” says John Ryall.

“ GST has always been an anti-worker, anti-poor tax,” says Robert Reid, General Secretary of the National Distribution Union. “Because low income workers spend most of their pay each week, they pay a much greater proportion of their income on GST than the rich who are able to save money or spend it abroad.”

“A Financial Transaction Tax is a good tax. It not only raises revenue that the country needs but taxes the moneymen and speculators who are the ones that have got New Zealand and the rest of the world into the financial mess we’re in. If enough money is brought in through a Financial Transaction Tax then we can take not only GST off food, but get rid of the entire anti-worker GST system.”

The New Zealand Council of Trade Unions also supports the phasing out of GST and the introduction of a Financial Transaction Tax. It is one of the specific policy recommendations in the CTU’s Alternative Economic Strategy. (See http://www.scoop.co.nz/stories/BU1010/S00293/ctu-releases-alternative-economic-strategy.htm)

Mr Gunson hopes other unions will endorse the Tax Justice petition and mobilise their members to collect signatures over next couple of months prior to the petition being presented to parliament in August.

Also see 'Tax Justice has a message for Sheriff John Key' (15 May), http://www.nogstonfood.org/2011/05/15/tax-justice-campaign-has-a-message-for-sheriff-john-key/


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