John Key’s Government has chosen a Budget of fiscal, social and environmental deficits when smarter options were available, the Green Party said today.
“The Government is borrowing to pay for poor quality spending on tax cuts that heavily favour the wealthy, more motorways for more congestion, and subsidies for the worst climate polluters,” Green Party Co-Leader Dr Russel Norman said.
“There is a deficit of vision in this Budget.
“Instead of promoting an economy based on sustainable commodities and knowledge-intensive, high-tech, clean-tech industries, Mr Key has chosen to deliver economic growth at any cost. Even though we know this growth threatens New Zealand’s well-being and brand integrity.
“Our country can be more than just dirty extractive industries — cow faeces in our water and National Parks desecrated by mining. We can be more than a quick buck, more than what we can dig up, suck up and sell off,” Dr Norman said.
Dr Norman said the Budget could have reformed the New Zealand tax system with a comprehensive capital gains tax excluding the family home.
“A Capital Gains Tax is smart and you make it fair by excluding the family home. It is part of the solution to our property crisis. It can broaden our tax base, and strengthen our economy.
“It would help make the dream of home ownership a reality for more Kiwis and it would feed much-needed capital to a starved productive sector,” Dr Norman said.
Dr Norman said that the Budget should have addressed inequality, as New Zealand is one of the most unequal countries in the OECD.
“Inequality costs everyone. It drives crime, illness, violence, and poor educational outcomes.
“Steps such as a $10,000 tax-free threshold and progressive power pricing that were included in the Green Party’s Mind the Gap plan were options John Key ignored.
“Instead he chose tax cuts that help the wealthy, subsides for polluters and cuts in social spending that entrench inequality,” Dr Norman said.