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Taxpayer Briefing: The Green Party Manifesto

Greens graphicIntroduction

The Green Party of Aotearoa (they do not use the term New Zealand) has launched a 52-page manifesto. We at the New Zealand Taxpayers’ Union read the modestly titled “Think Ahead. Act Now. Our Green vision for Aotearoa” so you do not have to.

Crunching the numbers did not take long. There are literally no costings – none. However, reading through page after page after page of expensive policies confirm that any number would be very large indeed.

Here are the key terrifying points for taxpayers in the Green Party Manifesto for the 2020 general election.

[My comments in brackets.]

Healthy nature

• Establish a Minister for Animals and a Parliamentary Commissioner for Animal Welfare.

[More bureaucracy and another Commissioner job for ex-Green MPs. Is this really a priority in a COVID-19 environment with soaring debt? This is literally the third policy listed in their document.]

• Uphold the kaitiaki, proprietary, and customary rights of iwi and hapū over water.

[This would dramatically expand the rights of iwi and hapū over all water.]

• Create a fairer system for water allocation by introducing fees for commercial users like bottling plants. Iwi and hapū would be involved in designing the framework.

[Why would iwi and hapū have input into a commercial framework?]

• Increase funding support for iwi and hapū, landholders, and community organisations to restore the health of forests and waterways.

• $1.3 billion to create thousands of jobs for nature over the next four years, including 6,000 jobs in conservation.

[The NZTU has never seen a robust definition of what a job for nature is. Does it count jobs that would have already been created?]

• The Green Party is not in the pocket of big fishing companies.

[Gee… I wonder who that is a dig at?]

• Phase out low-grade plastic products that can be easily replaced with reusable alternatives, especially plastic water bottles, cotton buds, and fruit stickers.

[While people are losing their jobs, the Greens are focused on banning cotton buds and fruit stickers.]

• Review the New Zealand-Aotearoa Tourism Strategy in light of COVID-19.

[A five-agency review of the Tourism Strategy in light of COVID-19 was already announced last week. Just a shame we will not be getting any tourists any time soon.]

Fairer communities

• Develop a Kids in Nature programme where schools get operational funding to enable students to learn in outdoor classrooms, build their outdoor recreation skills, and go kayaking, bush walking, and snorkelling.

[Taxpayer funded snorkelling for rich city kids.]

• Roll out Te Reo Māori as a core school subject through to Year 10.

[Can students snorkel and learn Te Reo Māori at the same time for double NCEA credits?]

• Embed ecological sustainability and civics education in the curriculum.

• Fund arts, culture, and creativity in schools, including supporting the Creatives in Schools programme.

[Is there going to be any time left in school for maths?]

• Secretive donations and unequal access by lobbyists creates an uneven playing field.

[Probably talking about that miscreant Jordan Williams at that terrible Taxpayers’ Union.]

• Uphold human rights by lowering the voting age to 16 and extending voting rights to all people in prison.

[All people in prison. Clayton Weatherston’s vote will be worth the same as yours!]

• Entrench Māori seats in Parliament.

[This would effectively make it impossible for future Parliaments to remove Māori seats as Labour and the Greens will always support them.]

• Make local elections fairer and more accessible by… removing barriers to the establishment of Māori electoral wards.

[The main barrier is that most people do not want Maori wards.]

• Strengthen accountability by reforming the Official Information Act and providing greater transparency of political lobbying.

[Presumably a reference to Greenpeace or Forest and Bird, noted lobbyists with Parliamentary passes.]

• Significantly reduce alcohol advertising and sponsorship of sporting and cultural events.

[Have they checked whether there are companies or charities ready and willing to step up to fill the massive funding gap this would create?]

• Remove the ability of big alcohol and supermarket corporates to challenge Local Alcohol Policies.

• Require health warning labels on all legal drugs, including alcohol.

• Guarantee equal gender representation in Government appointments, while addressing other gaps including ethnicity and disability.

[Quotas! Where are we going to find all those male nurses?]

• Increase funding to Family Planning clinics to ensure contraception and abortion care is available everywhere.

• Ensure Aotearoa’s defence forces promote peace, justice, and environmental protection (such as fisheries enforcement) throughout the Pacific and the world.

[Groovy man!]

• [Defence Force] Establish a Conflict Prevention Unit.

[Even groovier man!]

• Oppose Aotearoa’s participation in the Five Eyes spy network.

[Some pretty serious geo-political consequences in that short sentence.]

• Work with global partners to support the forgiveness of unjust Global South debt, and fair debt relief measures, especially in the aftermath of the COVID-19 crisis.

[A trillion-dollar sentence right there.]

• Incorporate matauranga Māori into the health system, and fund provision of primary healthcare through Māori organisations, overseen by a new Māori health agency.

• Investigate a levy on sugary drinks to fund affordable dental care.

• Support water-only policies in schools, hospitals, and sports clubs.

[No more beers after the match for you, peasants!]

• Facilitate finance for development of papakāinga [housing] on Māori land.

[We’re halfway through with no reference to tax. The only references to economic growth are negative.]

• Review the use of algorithms and risk profiling in immigration decisions.

[We suspect most people would support risk profiling.]

• Reform sentencing, bail and parole laws to enable the gradual replacement of most prisons with community-based rehabilitation.

[Abolish most prisons!]

• Oppose the use of the Public Works Act to acquire Māori land.

• [Page 31] Introduce a new tax of 1 per cent on an individual’s net wealth above $1 million and 2 per cent on net wealth over $2 million. This tax would only affect the wealthiest 6 per cent of New Zealanders.

• Create two new top income tax brackets for a more progressive tax system that redistributes wealth.

[Oprah voice: You get more taxes! You get more taxes! You get more taxes!]

• Support green roofs and other “soft” infrastructure.

[Whisky Tango Foxtrot is “soft” infrastructure?]

Clean economy

• Phase-out the most environmentally degrading agricultural inputs, such as synthetic fertilisers and harmful pesticides, and ban Palm Kernel Expeller (PKE) imports.

• Support farmers to transition to organic agriculture.

• Make donations to non-profit art and creative organisations tax-deductible, like charities are.

• Ensure funding of arts and culture organisations does not solely rely on gambling revenue, and work with venues to secure revenue that doesn’t rely solely on alcohol consumption.

[Again, who is going to step up to fill up this funding gap? Probably the taxpayer.]

[Arts and culture is listed under economic policy but there is no section on tax…]

• Embed creativity in future Wellbeing Budgets and the Treasury’s Living Standards Framework, so it influences policy-making right across government.

[Hopefully we can pay off our huge national debt with creativity. What’s the exchange rate on that?]

• Establish a Public Interest Journalism Fund, making grants available for projects and journalists, with criteria to ensure diversity of voice in media is considered as part of the grants process.

[Formalise Government funding for selected journalists. Yet somehow the influence of lobbyists is the bigger problem.]

• Implement a ‘digital services tax’ on digital advertising revenue, to disincentive sending revenue offshore and provide a new stream of funding for local media.

[Basically, try to force government agencies and businesses to use New Zealand advertising even though Facebook or Google are more effective and cheaper. This goes even further than the media companies’ desperate pleas to the Epidemic Response Committee.]

• Increase RNZ’s funding, including RNZ Concert, which could then employ journalists losing jobs in the private media sector.

[“Funding” = taxpayer money for what is considered by New Zealanders to be the most left-leaning media outlet.]

• Make electric cars more affordable and invest in better cycle lanes, buses, and trains.

[Taxing tradies to subsidise Teslas.]

• Commit government departments to buying more goods and services from Aotearoa businesses.

[This would breach multiple trade agreements.]

• Use government procurement to support local suppliers and open-source software, including hosting government data onshore, to deliver broader value to Aotearoa.

[NZ Made even if there are cheaper and better alternatives from overseas.]

• Review regulatory frameworks that distinguish between commercial businesses and non-profit organisations, to support social enterprises to thrive.

• Commit to open data so people can innovate, while protecting individual privacy and data sovereignty, including Māori data sovereignty.

[Second reference to Maori data sovereignty in the document.]

• Design people-friendly streets that are safer for walking and cycling, particularly around schools.

• Expand electric vehicle charging stations across Aotearoa.

[Current usage – 1%-3% of the time they are active.]

• Move to default union membership so people automatically join a union when they start a new job, but can opt out.

[Will this include the Taxpayers’ Union?]

• Restore the right to solidarity strikes and political strikes.

[The 70s called – they want their strikes back!]

• Progressively shift to five weeks annual leave.

[Another burden on employers.]

• Improve redundancy processes and provide a minimum of one-month full pay for people made redundant.

• Extend the living wage beyond the core public sector, including to contractors.

[Costly implications for many government agencies and businesses.]

• Develop specific employment and equity standards to be used when selecting contracts for government procurement.

[Again, no focus on value for money, just virtue signalling.]

Sources

Green Party Manifesto


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