Me tāke te hunga whairawa kia ora ai te hunga rawakore.
TAX the rich to free the poor.
As a direct result of the policy we now know as “Rogernomics”, restrictions on overseas money coming in to the country were lifted, crown assets were sold, government departments became state-owned enterprises, massive cuts in education, health, housing and welfare benefits were initiated, and over 5 years these new corporate entities dismissed 20,000 workers, many of whom were Māori who had been working in those industries for generations.
Emboldened by this, employers in other sectors started introducing below-inflation wage increases, stripping work safety standards, enforcing no-strike rules, forcing unions off work sites and locking out workers.
And yet for all that, the promises of economic growth simply did not materialise. Our economy grew at 5% while the OECD average was 25%, our credit rating dropped twice, our foreign debt blew out by more than 400%, and unemployment went from 3.5% to 12%.
Government made the problem worse by giving huge tax breaks to the wealthy and bailing out corporate failures to the tune of billions of dollars in lost revenue over the past 20 years.
All of that led directly to sharp rises in youth suicide, violence, drug abuse and crime, a massive increase in unemployment, homelessness and poverty, and the rapid emergence of food banks and loan sharks.
Today the gap between the rich and the poor continues to widen, with more than 250,000 of our children now living in poverty (disproportionately Māori and Pasifika).
Real wages have gone down while the cost of living has gone up, making many people much worse off than ever before and requiring workers to work many additional hours to make up the difference.
MANA calls for a major overhaul of the tax system to increase tax revenue and to use that extra revenue to create a just economy, where everyone has a job and can afford to live a decent life - not a flash life, but a decent one - where they have enough money to pay the rent, food and power, health and education costs for the whole family, car costs, and a little something extra each week for the whānau.
MANA policy priorities are to:
Overhaul the tax system to make it fair
- Take no tax on income under $30,000
- Introduce Progressive tax increases for incomes above $100,000
- Tax all sources of income (shares, bonds, property, investments) at individual’s tax rate
- Introduce a progressive tax rate for inheritances over $500,000 except for Maori land
- Introduce a capital gains tax on all but family homes and Māori land
- Eliminate corporate tax loopholes and make tax avoidance a prison offence
Introduce a 1% Financial Transaction Tax on all financial transactions
- Banks, institutions and financial speculators currently pay no tax on financial speculation.
- A 1% FTT would massively increase the revenue available to government
- People who don’t have a lot of money feel the pain of a 15% tax on the food they buy.
- Abolishing GST will immediately increase their immediate income.
Raise the incomes of low-income earners
- Increase the minimum wage to $20hr and index it to 66% of the average wage
- Index benefits to 66% of the average wage
- Introduce a Universal Basic Income
- Reintroduce capitalisation of children’s benefit to use for home deposits
Reduce the cost of living
- Buy back key state assets
- Make essential services (electricity and water) non-profit and sustainable
- Regulate loan sharking and bank fees on loans, credit cards and mortgages
- Support union collective agreements for better wage and safety conditions
- Abolish secondary tax for those who work 2-3 part-time jobs
Refocus the budget
- eliminate racism by prioritising Māori and Pasifika families in all social spending
- provide free health and education
- invest in job creation, state housing, reducing pollution and public transport, and build an economy based on prioritising people’s needs ahead of wealth creation