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Sustainability first, equitable tax cuts second

The surplus – sustainability first, equitable tax cuts second

Media Release, 11th October 2006

Dr. Russel Norman, Green Party Co-Leader

The first call on the $3 billion cash surplus announced today should be investments in environmental and social sustainability, and if tax cuts do go ahead then they should be introduced as a tax-free threshold at the bottom of the tax scale that would benefit all New Zealanders, says the Green Party.

“New Zealand is facing some very serious shortfalls in investments in public transport, renewable energy research and development, sustainable agriculture, and social housing,” says Russel Norman, Greens Co-Leader and Economics’ Spokesperson.

“Investing in our long term sustainable future must be the top priority. Reducing our oil dependence will benefit our economy in the long term and public transport will make it cheaper and easier to get around our cities and towns.

“Housing has become ridiculously expensive and people desperately need more affordable state housing and community housing options.

“It should also be noted that our greenhouse gas liability increased by $346m in the course of one year and, if this increase continues, then we will owe over $2.5billion by 2012, the end of the Kyoto commitment period. While much of this is due to accounting changes, it is clear that Government inaction on climate change is costing us dearly.

“Tax cuts will put even further upwards pressure on interest rates, so that anything gained by ordinary New Zealanders in tax cuts is likely to be taken away by the subsequent boost in mortgage interest rates.

“But, given that Labour is likely to proceed down the tax cut path at some point, our plea is that tax cuts go to everyone, via the introduction of tax-free threshold at the bottom of the tax scale.”


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