Metiria Turei

Inequality in Aotearoa: Mind the Gap!

by Metiria Turei

As you know, I’ve been writing a series of blog posts about Inequality in Aotearoa during April and May.

I’ve also been working on ideas for solutions to the growing gap between rich and poor in New Zealand, and this morning I’ve launched a major package of eight practical ideas to reduce inequality. Here I am at the launch earlier today.

We’ve called this package ‘Mind the Gap’, and it is the third tranche of our Green New Deal initiatives for dealing with the biggest social, economic, and environmental challenges facing New Zealand. The Green New Deal is what a Green Government would be doing right now to address these challenges. You can read or download ‘Mind the Gap’ here.

On Thursday Bill English will deliver this Government’s second Budget. These solutions should be in there. But sadly, this Budget will be about helping those who have the most, not those who have the least.

John Key and Bill English have choices in this Budget. Inequality is driving health, social, and economic problems, and costing taxpayers billions of dollars per year. An investment in reducing inequality now would pay dividends in reduced costs in future.

We know this Budget will spend hundreds of millions of dollars on tax cuts to the wealthy, and pay for it with a GST rise that will hit those on low incomes hardest.

If John Key and Bill English choose instead to introduce a comprehensive capital gains tax (exempting the family home), they would raise around $4.5 billion per year in the long term, that could be invested in other measures to reduce inequality – like a tax-free threshold of $10,000, a progressive pricing system for electricity, extending the In-Work Tax Credit to every low income family who needs it, reintroducing the Special Benefit, building new state and community housing, and ensuring security of rental tenure.

It’s all about choice and priorities. A Green Government would make reducing inequality one of its highest priorities, and we would start with these solutions.

How about you?

Meyt says