The Alliance Party has released its 2008 manifesto and it offers a fundamentally different vision from the tepid and reactionary market policies of the present parliamentary parties.
It is a manifesto that rejects the free market policies that have wrecked the New Zealand economy and aims to put the interests and concerns of ordinary people first.
The Alliance proposes to increase tax on the wealthiest third of New Zealand taxpayers which will contribute to giving tax assistance to the remaining two-thirds.
The Alliance says:
'The break-even point will be $41,000, that is, a family with two wage-earners each making that amount will pay no more tax than they do at the moment.
The first $10,000 of income would be exempt from tax. This applies to everyone. Almost a million Kiwis who earn between $10,000 and $20,000 would average $1,400 less tax than they do now. Those earning between $30,000 and $40,000 would average $428 less tax. Altogether, 1,380,000 people would enjoy substantial tax breaks.'
The Alliance says it would stop paying into the superfund which it says is preventing necessary social spending.
In another innovative policy the Alliance says it would start phasing out GST, starting with food. GST would be replaced by a Financial Transactions Tax (FTS) at the rate of two cents in every $100. The FTS would only be charged on withdrawals.
Says the Alliance:
'If you spent $26,000 per year and withdrew a weekly total of $500, FTT would be 10 cents. Compare that to GST on a family’s weekly food bill – 12.5% of $200 or $25 a week.
GST is a regressive tax that hits the poor at the same rate as the rich. It also burdens business with unnecessary compliance costs.'
Among its health policies the Alliance says it would increase health funding over three years from 6.8% to 8% of GDP. It would immediately add spending of $1.4 billion to the public health service. This, says the Alliance, would mean free doctors’ consultations, the removal of prescription charges, and reduced waiting lists.
In the area of education the Alliance says it would abolish the Student Loans Scheme and immediately write off all loans. A living allowance for all tertiary students at the level of the Unemployment Benefit would be introduced.
The Alliance says it would fully fund the public education system from early childhood to tertiary level, including removal of tuition fees.
In housing the Alliance would introduce low-interest, no-deposit loans for low-income workers and beneficiaries to enable them to buy homes. It would also increase the number of state houses being built to ensure adequate supply of quality affordable housing.
In another exciting and progressive policy, the Alliance says it would increase the minimum wage to $17 per hour and it would introduce a 35-hour working week with no loss of pay.
The Alliance will increase superannuation to 72.5% of the average after-tax wage and it will be available at age 55 at reduced rates until age 65 to reflect the growing need for public provision from an earlier age.
Means testing will be ended on all senior citizens requiring long term care.
In a rather more specific area, The Alliance in Parliament would push for MPs’ pay to be linked directly to the top of the basic scale for primary and secondary teachers with a 3-year degree and one year of teacher training.
Says the Alliance:
'This is not a reflection of the responsibilities and workload of MPs, rather it is a reflection of the special role they have in our society and the need for our representatives to have an awareness of people’s everyday lives and existence.'
In the field energy the Alliance would re-nationalise the electricity generation, lines and retail companies to ensure that electricity is affordable for all New Zealanders. Free market polices would be abolished.
A copy of the Allaince's full manifesto can be downloaded from its website