The Green Party's Poverty Action Plan could be a game-changer for New Zealanders if the party gets enough votes to insist on its policy being accepted by a coalition partner forming a new government.
In fact Labour Party leader Jacinda Ardern has already cavilled at the plan but the Greens are determined to plug for a basic income of at least $325 a week for beneficiaries, funded by a wealth tax.
The Greens say they would introduce a new tax on assets, which would apply to the top 6 per cent of the wealthiest people in New Zealand. It would be set at a one per cent tax for those with a net worth of over $1 million.
The Green Party has advocated on poverty issues for some years and says Aotearoa’s social support system has kept New Zealanders in poverty for the past 30 years.
ACC reform too
Its Poverty Action Plan policy would include:
- A universal child benefit for children under the age of three of $100.
- A simplified family support credit of $190 a week for the first child, and $120 a week for subsequent children, to replace the Working for Families tax credits, with a higher abatement threshold and lower abatement rate.
- Additional support for single parents through a top-up of $110 a week.
- Reforming ACC to become the Agency for Comprehensive Care, creating equitable social support for everyone with a work-impairing health condition or disability, with a minimum payment of 80 per cent of the full-time minimum wage.
- Changes to abatement and relationship rules so people can earn more from paid work before their income support entitlements are reduced.
"We have a lot of people with wealth who have been waiting for this sort of vision," Green Party Co-leader Marama Davidson told Tapatahi.
Davidson says this plan will look to remove struggles within communities and long-term injustice.
She says the wealth tax would also apply to big corporations and while it wouldn’t make "a massive difference to their lives,” it would make a massive difference to struggling families.
While this would include trusts, Māori trusts and Māori land under the Te Ture Whenua Māori Act plus the assets of post-settlement governance entities would be exempt.
This includes land returned under a Treaty Settlement or vested in a Treaty settlement entity.