Looking for change at election time
Time for change, or more of the same?
It’s surely an exercise in futility to criticise the National Party in this electorate, but here goes anyway. The issues are too important to remain silent.
Opposition parties can only tout what they’d do if they were in power. The National Party, on the other hand, has had nine years to show us what it stands for. How are we doing under their leadership?
The recently published NBR Rich List notes that some Kiwis are doing swimmingly.
‘‘I think it’s continued boom times for the rich, the rich get richer and the rich are having a really successful period at the moment,’’ said NBR editor, Duncan Bridgeman, on publication of the list.
Meanwhile, real wages are falling and home ownership rates are at their lowest level in 66 years.
Some 110,000 children live in a home that has a major problem with dampness and mould. A disproportionate number of these are owned by the Government itself through Housing New Zealand.
Yet the economy is ‘‘purring’’ along nicely National tell us. They cite strong growth in GDP – gross domestic product – as evidence. They conveniently leave out the fact that our unprecedentedly high immigration numbers give a false sense of success.
Growth through immigration comes at a cost, including increased congestion on Auckland roads, tight rental markets, continued high housing prices, overcrowding in schools, and difficulty registering with a doctor if you are new to an area.
The recent surge in tourism further contributes to GDP growth and now deposits some $2 billion annually into central government coffers in the form of GST.
So far, National has doled out modest millions for some new toilets and car parks in spots around the country. Otherwise, it’s a cash grab they can use to help achieve a surplus and, in turn, tell us what great economic managers they are.
Mayor Barnes has called for more of the GST take to go back to where it is earned. New Zealand First, for its part, promises GST will be returned to the regions.
Both the OECD and the International Monetary Fund have called for a broad capital gains tax in New Zealand. So it’s not a wacky, left-wing policy the Labour Party just dreamed up. It is but one part of an equitable tax system long used in advanced countries around the world.
With an appropriate capital gains tax we’d be better placed to tackle pressing problems – like high rates of child poverty cited by the UN Committee on the Rights of the Child. In spite of the tremendous benefits it could provide, the National Party staunchly opposes such a tax.
Gord Stewart is an environmental sustainability consultant and rural property owner.