Budget2022 – Climate Justice Demands

Here are our demands we released in April 2022:

Stop funding polluters with free Carbon Credits

Under the government’s industrial allocation program for the Emissions Trading Scheme (ETS) well over $100 million in carbon credits have been handed out every year to polluters who threaten to move their business overseas like Tiwai aluminium, NZ Steel, Oji Fibre (pulp and paper), Norske Skog and Fletchers. Current law requires a 1%/yr reduction of their free credits for 10 yrs, increasing 1% a decade. If agriculture joins the ETS they will have 95% of their emissions paid for by free carbon credits. Most of these credits are just stockpiling and are not being used to replace carbon via methods such as tree planting. In most cases the ETS is a money go round  while the planet burns. The ETS doesn’t work. No more free carbon credits. Polluters should be taxed to stop the pollution.

Free Public Transport

When petrol prices hit $3 recently due to rising costs and Russia’s war in the Ukraine, the government halved public transport fares and reduced petrol taxes almost overnight. There are several successful cities and countries that offer free public transport and more are being created. If we want to be serious about transitioning off fossil fuels and private vehicles then we need to get serious about public transport. Making it free helps those who are most vulnerable to climate change and can’t afford a new EV (which should be preserved for people with limited mobility, emergency services and heavy transport). Free public transport now!

No GST on food

With rising food prices from supermarket duopoly control, increasing fuel prices, agricultural damage from climate change and disrupted economies from the recent pandemic,… a goods and services tax on food is unfair and unnecessary. Food is a necessity. It must be affordable. Removing GST on food would cut costs by 15%.

Nil income tax for the poor

The main argument for not removing GST from food is that the poor would be treated the same as the rich. Not asking for income taxes from our poorest sector of society (earning under $14,000/yr), would therefore even up that scale. The poor are some of the most vulnerable people to climate change as they often can barely afford a house, a phone or bus fares, let alone land to grow food on or a plane ticket to escape disasters. A wealth tax on those earning over $1 million a year would easily cover the small loss of tax on poor people. Nil income tax for the poor.

A Liveable Income for All

We all want to live in a country where families have enough for their children to thrive and people can live with dignity in their communities., But we all know how many struggle with the cost of housing, rising cost of living and successive government’s pitiful increase in benefits that have not kept up with inflation. This poverty comes at a terrible cost to wellbeing, and there is much evidence to show how governments can make a difference. Increase benefits as recommended by the Welfare Expert Advisory Group, make sure all working people earn at least the living wage and ensure  these rates are indexed to inflation and the average wage.

Capital gains tax now

A decent home is what we hope for all people in Aotearoa but for too many the cost of a roof over our heads means poverty and homelessness. With underinvestment in social housing and policies that benefit the rich, Aotearoa is one of the most expensive places in the world to buy a house and rent. With no tax on capital gains, landlords can choose to leave houses empty to profit unfairly from the capital gain. Multiple property owners can earn from the increase in values of their properties without paying tax. A capital gains tax would create more fairness in the tax system – where those who earn from all sources of income including their housing wealth, contribute to our collective wellbeing. Alongside rapidly increasing the number of publicly owned housing, this could help cool the heated property market too, bringing  the cost of housing down and freeing up income to really help those who need it most.

Pay Health Workers More

Healthcare workers have worked tirelessly on the frontlines of the pandemic, putting themselves and their families at risk to keep our communities safe. Years of government under-investment in the health sector mean that often these workers operate understaffed and in facilities which aren’t ideal.

Climate change only threatens to increase these pressures as a future with more pandemics, more natural disasters and more deadly diseases becomes reality.

Right now in the peak of Omicron where many of our healthcare workers face the very real possibility of burnout, we’re calling on the Government to pay health workers more, to increase staff numbers and reduce workloads.