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Closing the Gap Delighted at New Government & Direction

Closing the Gap Delighted at New Government — and Direction

The income equality project Closing the Gap, today congratulated the country's incoming coalition government, saying it offered hope for the kind progressive change most New Zealanders voted for.

"We are delighted to see a change of government, and a coalition of parties that clearly have a common interest in tackling inequality by repairing and strengthening the social welfare state," said Peter Malcolm, a spokesperson for the group.

"Incoming Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern and her team have much work ahead to tackle fundamental problems facing New Zealand, particularly our now entrenched levels of inequality."

Mr. Malcolm said “Closing the Gap would continue to press for solutions to inequality. These include a more progressive tax system that lowers the tax on the middle class, and higher taxes on those who can afford it, ie the high income earners. A comprehensive capital gains tax also needs to be part of the solutions" he said.

"Housing is another priority area on the equality agenda, and the coalition simply must deliver on Labour's promised KiwiBuild programme," Mr. Malcolm said.

He said “it was also long past time to fund our health-care system properly. Successive National governments have undermined it to such an extent that health-care is now unaffordable for poorer New Zealanders”.

Mr. Malcolm, who is a retired high school principal, said that the other major investment needed to make a dent in inequality was education. "If we want a more equal society, it's time to stop paying lip service to 'equal opportunity' and actually provide it — which means free education at all levels."

"We know it's a big agenda, but we're heartened that New Zealand has a leadership team that is aware of what needs to be done. The task facing the rest of us is to keep the pressure on to make sure they deliver."


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