Green Party Budget 2016 Wish List
Green Party Co-leader Metriria Turei and MP Julie Anne Genter hand out lunches at a South Auckland school

Julie Anne Genter: My Budget 2016 wish is fairness

When my parents first visited me in Auckland ten years ago, they remarked on how there were no homeless people on the streets. Coming from Los Angeles, they were used to seeing the impacts of horrendous inequality and a lack of a social safety net: people living under bridges, in cardboard boxes, people who may have been bankrupted due to healthcare costs.

They thought it was wonderful that homelessness was so unusual in New Zealand, because we had a social safety net and provided homes and shelters for people in need.

When they came to visit this year, they couldn’t believe how much things have changed.

After eight years of a National Government, the ongoing housing crisis, and the two speed economy that is leaving the most vulnerable behind, a growing number of people are without homes – left with no choice but sleeping on the streets or living in cars.

The budget today should be addressing both the housing crisis and growing inequality. It should be upholding the core value of New Zealanders – fairness.

A fairer tax system would tax the capital gains from investment property, just as any other income is taxed. This would help reduce growing concentration of wealth in a smaller and smaller group of people, and it would mean that more homes are available to first home buyers.

This budget could introduce proper protection for renters, including security of tenure and a warrant of fitness for rental properties. Every child should be able to live in a warm, dry, secure home – even if their parents rent.

Most importantly, this budget should invest more money in building state houses. If we have a supply shortage, the government needs to step in and fill the gap. State houses per capita have declined considerably over the past few decades. If we don’t something about it, more people will be on the streets or in cars. Build more houses, you can end homelessness. It’s that simple.

This budget could make real strides by putting a tax on climate pollution, and return the revenue to families from the bottom,  again making our tax system fairer and helping us shift to greener jobs and energy.

This budget could introduce much more logical investment in transport projects, which would not only result in safer roads and cheaper transport, but also a massive reduction in climate pollution.

The National Government keeps giving us excuses about why we can’t afford to solve the housing crisis, why we can’t take action on climate change, why we can’t protect our rivers or get kids out of poverty.

The truth is we can do all of these things. In fact, we must!

What do you want to see in Budget 2016?

budget survey

4 Comments Posted

  1. I accept there are people who are not showing social responsibility with the support they get but I get annoyed at the assertion that it is significant, although individual cases seem extreme, why we hear about them. I think it is about 2% of benefits that show as ripoffs, about the same ratio as shop lifting, so probably indicates a group of desperate/unsociable people. This, however, should not be used to tar the 98% who are there by providence, and statistics show that in a fair economy don’t last long before finding opportunity and self reliance.

    We don’t run around saying all business needs massive regulation because some criminal elements avoid there social responsibility to collective infrastructure or health and well being, even though the ratio of greedy multinationals may look greater than 2%.

    I tend to feel both groups of malcontents are pretty similar, just people like Monsanto have more Capital and resources, and proportionally do more harm.

  2. dbuckley,

    Problem with “fairness”, as well as the view off the “progressives”, is that we have seen, over quite a few years, incredible cases of unfairness from the recipients of the tax payers largess.

    The latest in a long line of examples is the 28 year old women with 8 kids, responsible for contaminating 3 state houses with P (or at least allowing the contamination – clean up bill $300,000), living in a state funded hotel (whilst having two more children) with a partner that had to give up work to “look after” his new family (more likely to soak more money out of the tax payer). With a total income from the tax payer of around $1200 per week.

    Well, there are many progressives that work hard and struggle to bring that sort of money (after taxation) into their own household per week. These progressives see the unfairness in that their taxation payments goes to support irresponsible people. In fact many would say why bother going to work (until you run out of taxpayers off course).

    There is dismay and not a little anger out there in progressive circles at the irresponsibility patently out there (remember the Kahui family was bringing in $2000 per week into the household – yet killed the twins) plus the unfairness of a one way street in regards tax payers support for the irresponsible.

    Now we have Labour talking about increasing the taxation to support even more irresponsible tax recipients. So you as a progressive go to work, pay 40% of your money to the state for supporting the irresponsible.

    Than we have the unfairness of the free state housing. I too would like a free state house for life. But as a tax payer, it is sorry go to work and get a mortgage. Free state houses (or private rentals with rental supplement support from the state) are for tax recipients.

    I’m finding a groundswell of annoyed feelings (not just in progressive but also conservative circles) that the “fairness” is tipped too far into the tax recipients favour (tanks goodness for social media where we can shine a light on this unfairness).

    Now how to bring the “fairness” and more importantly responsibility) back?

    Don’t know, but to keep robbing hard working Paul to pay an irresponsible Peter has no future. All it harbours is resentment.

    Especially as it takes at least four Paul’s to pay for one Peter. That is simply not sustainable from both monetary and socially acceptable viewpoint.

    Guess the “progressives” have become hard nosed (especially among it’s younger members).

  3. CoroDale asks:

    Where are the progressive voices?

    I think they’ve all either died, got old and lost interest, or become moderates, perhaps centrist moderates, now that their bread is buttered somewhat better than it was when they were much younger and more vocal. Perhaps that era really is over?

  4. Yes, all very good, but; “Investing more in…” Blah blah?
    Via debt from international banks?
    Or via money creation from sovereign money?
    Clarity please.
    We’re eating dissolution, as the planets align for action.
    Fuel shortages in France – PEOPLE POWER.
    Meanwhile NZ Greens are chatting about the price of white bread – deluding ourselves of a chance become back-benches in a Govt of austerity.
    Where are the progressive voices?

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