Equality Network response to the Interim Report of the Tax Working Group 30th October 2018


The Equality Network welcomes the Tax Working Group’s (TWG) Interim Report and acknowledges the depth of analysis undertaken to this point. The report shows that the TWG have done much work to review the many thousands of comments and submissions received.

These comments by the Equality Network draw on the key messages called for in our 2017 Election Statement. The immediate changes the Equality Network is calling for are for the rebalancing of income and wealth to promote a decent life for everyone:

  • Income for all that provides the necessities of life, including fairer income support.
  • A tax on very high levels of wealth and higher top tax rates on the highest incomes to ensure everyone contributes their fair share and enable our families and whanau to thrive. Read on…

Wellbeing Frameworks for The Treasury

Equality Network comments in response to

Living Standards Series: Discussion Paper 18/01 February 2018

These comments from the Equality Network are in response to the Treasury work to establish a living standards framework better assess the impact of government policies on the wellbeing of New Zealanders (Living Standards Discussion Paper 18/01, Feb 2018). The aim is to develop measures of success other than simple economic measures such as economic growth as measured by GDP to monitor progress to improve the lives of all in New Zealand through measuring their “wellbeing” now and in the future. Our comments are in red. Read full report here.

Closing the Gap Submission to Government Tax Working Group – Read full report here.

Week 6: Political donations and collective agreements

Kristine Bartlett has been a member of E tū for over 20 years. “My union E tū have been a wonderful union. It has backed me up and supported me through the Equal Pay case, which was worth $2 billion dollars. And this is going to be a life changer for many women.” #VoteForEquality

Jan Rivers, from NGO Public Good, says we could limit political donations from individuals and businesses to $1500 a year, and give everyone on the electoral roll in New Zealand a $20 donation for the party of their choice to stop money distorting politics. #VoteforEquality

Week 5: Maori voice and public broadcasting

Equality Network contributor and Gisborne District Councillor Josh Wharehinga talks about creating an upper house, which would be one step towards a full partnership between Māori and the Crown. #VoteForEquality

According to broadcaster Chris Nicol, “public service broadcasting in this country has pretty much gone to the dogs”. This election, let’s ensure we have a Government that will champion a broadcaster that will inform us, promote healthy discussion and encourage us to participate in our own democracy. #VoteForEquality

Week 4: Education & Health

Housing and health – why we need a housing WOF.
Kate Day, Renters United / Anglican Diocese of Wellington

Talking about the link between housing and health and the urgent need for a nation-wide Warrant of Fitness scheme – so our homes can places that people can be healthy, live and thrive.
“So much of our housing stock in unsafe, damp and so cold it makes people sick to live there.”

Our Government is under-funding health by more than $1.8 billion dollars – meaning that many New Zealanders are not getting the health care that they need.

Muriel Tunoho, Health Care Aotearoa

Charges for doctors visits, prescription and dental care mean that healthcare is out of reach. In the face of widespread funding costs we are calling for the Government to make healthcare a priority. “This is the right thing to do if we all want to live in a fair and healthy Aotearoa.”

Education: Every child in New Zealand has a right to a quality, free education.
Mark Potter, principal Berhampore School.

“Every child in New Zealand has a right to a quality, free education. Not all are getting this.”

Week 3: Tax

Victoria University of Wellington’s Associate Professor Lisa Mariott talks about wealth tax – how it works and why we need it. Did you know 1% of the population holds a whopping 20% of the wealth of Aotearoa while the bottom 50% hold less than 1%.

Our top tax rate currently sits at 33% compared to UK and Australia where the rate is 45%. Let’s think about raising the top income tax rate, says Victoria University of Wellington’s Associate Professor Lisa Mariott. This would mean more resources to reinvest in social services – so all New Zealanders can prosper.

Week 2: Housing

Kate Day from the Anglican Diocese of Wellington is asking politicians for a courageous vision in order to turn the housing crisis into a housing opportunity. We need to build genuinely affordable homes that stay in the hands of hard working New Zealanders.

Kate Day from the Anglican Diocese of Wellington looks at why housing has gone through the room – and why the Government needs to build more homes and crack down on property speculation.

Week 1: Income

Maddy is a single parent with a 10-month old baby. She is on the benefit and trying to find a house with cheaper rent so she can afford to feed her baby nutritious food and live in a warm, dry house. Read her story…

Mareta is a cleaner who is employed by the Government and is paid the minimum wage of $15.75 an hour, before tax. She works very hard and is fighting to be paid the Living Wage. Read her story…

Nathan is a solo dad with two kids. He went from earning $77,000 a year and owning his own home to losing everything – his house, his career and his wife. He is studying to try and better his future for his family, but works less than 20 hours a week and therefore can’t get the In-Work Tax Credit. Read his story…

Income videos

Former refugee Ibrahim Omer worked as a cleaner, being paid the minimum wage. As soon as he got the Living Wage, he was able to reduce work hours and study. He has now graduated with a degree from Victoria University of Wellington.

Ann Simone is a mother who works as a cleaner. She came from Samoa in 2011 to find a better life, but found she was stuck in a job being paid the minimum wage as a cleaner, juggling day and night shifts with her husband in order to survive. Now she is being paid the Living Wage and can offer her family a better life.

Charmaine Reihana is a single mum of six children and earns the minimum wage. She works seven days a week night and day to make ends meet. Hear her story about why she is fighting to be paid the Living Wage.

Muriel Tunoho from the Hutt Union and Community Health Services sees people struggling every day on low wages, suffering from major health issues and living in poor housing. She says workers and families need higher incomes.

Pauline Horrill, a GP based in Wellington, is a spokesperson from Child Poverty Action Group, talks about one of her clients Sam who grew up in poverty, and how poverty affected his health.

Closing the Gap – The Income Inequality Project has also released a series of videos pertaining to income inequality. Here are three:

A social worker talks about homelessness and why we need to raise the benefit:

The Inequality Song:

A letter from a solo mum, read by actress Robyn Malcolm: