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How Will The Parties Score On Measures To Reduce Inequality?

The Equality Network, a group of New Zealand organisations united by the vision of a more equal Aotearoa New Zealand, will release their Party Scorecard later this week. Each election the network hopes their scores for the Parties support and inform voters’ decision-making about who gets to form a new government.

“Addressing inequality, the housing crisis and the social determinants driving more New Zealanders into poverty have become top election issues. This scorecard is a way for people to see how the political parties shape up in responding to the shared wish for a better balance of income and wealth in this country,” says Jo Spratt from Oxfam and Convenor of the Equality Network.

Parties are ranked on ten measures, three of which are immediate measures government could take to reduce inequality now.

“Only if a new Government takes immediate action after the election, to lift low incomes and improve the housing stock, will we start to see reductions in poverty and improvements in health,” says Peter Malcolm of Closing the Gap and one of the Scorecard’s analysts. “Fairer tax law would go a long way to providing government agencies like Work and Income more means to provide New Zealand’s safety net.”

As well as these three immediate measures, seven more areas for longer term commitments are scored, all of which will pave a longer term strategy for how resources are shared to the benefit of us all. These include: full partnership between Māori and the Crown, a free healthcare system, increased education funding for free quality education, huge boosts to retraining and job skills programmes, collective bargaining laws, curbs on political donations and broadcasting that serves the public interest.

“New Zealand’s response to Covid 19 has really put pressure on our health system, our education system, and thrown our job market into disarray. Racism, too, is an issue for New Zealand that would be resolved with better collective knowledge and adherence to te Tiriti o Waitangi,” said Prudence Stone, a Scorecard analyst for the Equality Network. “These are social determinants driving income inequality and so they’re important to monitor within each Party’s values and policy lines.”

In the scorecard, parties are assessed based on a combination of their ambition (how strongly they are committed to tackling inequality) and their plan (the level of detail they have for policies to reduce income and wealth imbalances) based on information published by the parties and summaries from independent election websites.

Those Parties without policies to reduce inequality, or with policies that would increase inequality, will be given a black star ranking.

For more information visit the Equality Network website: equalitynetwork.org.nz/election 2020

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