The Alliance Party and Socialist Worker are jointly launching a nationwide tax campaign on Saturday 22 May.
The campaign will champion tax changes of benefit to grassroots New Zealanders. The focus will be a non-CIR petition sponsored by both Socialist Worker and the Alliance Party, which requests parliament to:
1. Remove GST from food.
2. Tax financial speculation.
These two demands will address injustices in the current tax system. Grassroots people have to pay tax on one of life’s necessities, food, while financial speculation goes untaxed. These injustices will be made worse when the National government this week delivers its 2010 Budget, where GST will almost certainly be increased to 15%.
The GST hike will compound the pain at the supermarket where food prices are already shooting upwards, driven by international speculation in the necessities of life. The budgets of grassroots New Zealanders will be stretched to breaking point. In this context we expect the petition demands to be very popular.
GST is a regressive tax that has strong support within corporate, banking and government circles. And unrestrained financialisation has become the central pillar of neoliberal capitalism and the source of an escalating proportion of the profits made by the world’s super-rich over the last few decades.
The one-two counterpunch contained in the tax petition, to (1) remove GST from food, and (2) tax financial speculation, hits the heart of neoliberalism. The petition will be an important mobilising tool in the strategic struggle around tax policy in New Zealand, with the grassroots facing-off against those who continue to promote the neoliberal agenda.
Taxing financial speculation through the introduction of a Financial Transaction Tax (FTT) would easily fund the removal of GST on food. At the same time an FTT would help discourage financial speculation, which destabilises the economy and causes untold harm to ordinary people, as the global financial crisis has proven.
HOW YOU CAN HELP
Socialist Worker and the Alliance Party are extending an open invite to other individuals and groups to support our tax campaign, which launches on Saturday 22 May, two days after National's budget.
The most obvious way that you can help is to collect signatures for the petition. The Alliance Party and Socialist Worker will widely distribute copies of our tax petition to everyone who wants to help.
Numbers are going to count. The more signatures we get, the more chance we have of building enough campaign momentum to connect with multitudes of New Zealanders and thus increase the pressure for fundamental changes in government policies.
As our campaign grows, more opportunities may well emerge for wider cooperation among the broad left around tax justice and many other issues. We'd like to get your feedback and hear your ideas.
The campaign has a website up and running, 'No GST on Food'. Go to http://www.nogstonfood.org/. Updates on the campaign will be posted there.
Vaughan Gunson (Socialist Worker) and Victor Billot (Alliance Party)
For more information contact: