In order to assist readers in preparing to vote in the General Election on October 17, NZ Catholic has listed below some policies of political parties that may be of interest to our readers, in light of the bishops’ election statement. Broadly, the policies are in the areas of welfare, justice, family/life, employment, environment and housing. More details on these policies and on other policies of political parties are on their websites.
Increase the amount people can earn while on the benefit by raising the abatement threshold. Expand eligibility for studying while on benefit. Keep the retirement age at 65. Increase minimum wage to $20 an hour by 2021. Bring forward the target of 100 per cent renewable electricity generation five years to 2030 with a review at the 2025 emissions budget. Implement a major support package to assist businesses in hiring at least 40,000 New Zealanders whose employment is impacted by COVID-19. Prioritise investments in regions with a targeted $200million Regional Strategic Partnership Fund to support economic development. “Since we came into Government, we’ve also removed abortion from the Crimes Act, rightly treating it as a health issue.” On personal income earned over $180,000 a new top tax rate of 39 per cent will apply. Provide 10 days of paid sick leave per year. Continue rolling out a Progressive Home Ownership scheme that will support lower income families struggling to pull together a deposit, or pay a mortgage, into home ownership. Continue to implement Homelessness Action Plan to prevent and reduce homelessness. Funding 8000 new public and transitional homes. Require Oranga Tamariki to consider placing children with wider family rather than in state care.
A $10k JobStart will provide a $10,000 cash payment to businesses for all additional new employees, capped at 10 new employees, or $100,000 per business. A $100 million package of direct grants for tourism projects aimed at increasing demand for tourism. Postpone the planned 2021 minimum wage increase.Raise superannuation age to 67 progressively from 2037. Overturn the oil and gas exploration ban. Take steps to allow the shift to fully electric, plug-in hybrid electric and hydrogen vehicles (EVs) to happen sooner. Repeal the RMA and implement an environmental legal and regulatory framework that is less complex and provides more certainty to all stakeholders.Increase tax thresholds by lifting the bottom threshold from $14,000 to $20,000, the middle threshold from $48,000 to $64,000 and the top threshold from $70,000 to $90,000. These changes will be in place from 1 December 2020 to 31 March 2022. Tax thresholds are adjusted every three years in line with the cost of living. Relax heating and ventilation standards for rental housing. Remove restrictions on foreign ownership of residential property. Implement a Social Investment Approach across the justice system by setting clear targets to reduce offending and address the areas of most need. Expanding the use of specialist courts, such as drug and alcohol courts, which help offenders deal with their addiction issues. Create new criminal offences targeting violent gang crime and introducing tougher sentences for gang-related crime.
Benefits should keep pace with the cost of living including food, energy, and housing prices. Benefits should not be reduced or sanctioned as behaviour control tools. All families should receive a universal child payment, and such payments shouldn’t be linked to employment like the Working for Families in-work tax credit is. Keep retirement age at 65. The number of dairy cows in sensitive catchments where nutrient pollution exceeds environmental standards should be reduced. The electricity system should be reliable, affordable, and 100 per cent renewable. The minimum wage should be 66 per cent of the average wage, and apply equally to all working people including young people and trainees. Employers should be required to audit and report their gender pay gaps. A range of safe and effective contraceptive options should be available and affordable, along with access to Family Planning Clinics. A woman’s right to an abortion should be protected in law, with good information and neutral counselling available to all women. Introduce a low-rate annual tax on net assets that exceed a certain threshold (assets below that threshold level would not be taxed). Income tax reductions to offset resource taxes, but applied to the bottom of the tax scale, not the top rate. Increase annual leave to 5 weeks. Provide 10 days of paid sick leave. A capital gains tax, excluding the family home, should disincentivise speculative property investment. Only New Zealand citizens and permanent residents should be able to buy land. Funding for restorative justice and victim support should be increased. No new prisons should be built, except to replace old prisons.
New unemployment insurance scheme which pays out based on input. 90-day trials for all businesses. Three-year moratorium on minimum wage increases. Ask politicians to pledge to cut flights to Wellington by 25 per cent. Replace Zero Carbon Act with a climate change plan which ties New Zealand’s carbon price to the prices paid by our top five trading partners. Repeal oil and gas exploration plan Fast-track resource development by introducing a streamlined process for consenting projects and granting land access, while protecting areas with high biodiversity and conservation value. Supports the right of women to make a personal choice on the issue of abortion. Temporarily cut GST to 10 per cent and permanently cut the marginal tax rate paid by those on the median wage from 30 per cent to 17.5 per cent, simplifying the tax system to three rates. Raise the retirement age; starting in 2023, raise the age of entitlement to superannuation from 65 to 67, at a rate of two months per year, finishing in 2035. Reduce public sector salaries. End Government Kiwisaver contributions. Replace the Resource Management Act with a law that lets people build without restrictive zoning such as the Metropolitan Urban Limit. Add burglary to the three strikes regime, meaning someone convicted of a third burglary offence gets three years in prison. Reward prisoners who complete literacy programs and driver licensing tests with reduced sentences. Do the same for prisoners who volunteer to teach in these programmes.
Restore the requirement for people to be actively seeking work in order to claim the Job Seeker Benefit. Raise retirement age to 70 by 2070. Reasonable and affordable steps to ensure that our rivers and waterways are maintained to the highest achievable standard. Freeze minimum wage. Stop trading on Good Friday and Easter Sunday. Rights of Unborn Child to be defined in law. Any abortion practised under The Contraception, Sterilisation and Abortion Act 1977 is actually practised in accordance with that law, “having full regard for the rights of the unborn child”. All pornography in New Zealand would be blocked or filtered by default, and would only be made available to individuals who “opt in”. Accept the outcome of the public referendum on euthanasia which will be held in conjunction with the 2020 general election, but increasing funding, where needed, for the best palliative care possible, and to help family members care for the terminally ill. Introduce income splitting for couples in a legally recognised relationship such as marriage. Support economic growth via $10 billion in tax cuts, which includes an income tax-free threshold of $20,000, removing tax-on-tax, and reducing petrol taxes. Tax house purchases by non-citizens and local investors with two or more properties. Three stage prison system with discipline/work, then education/training, then open prison with regular employment in community. Multiple sentences served consecutively, not concurrently. Increased sentences for white collar crime. Make Citizens Initiated Referenda binding on the government when there is more than two-thirds majority response in favour of a referenda proposal, and at least one-third of registered voters participated in the referenda.
Improve resourcing for mental health counselling for young people. Increase residency requirement for superannuation to 20 years. Increase funding for Hillside Rail Workshop. Remove tolls from roads in Tauranga and Bay of Plenty. Offer a new agreement to owners of Tiwai Point aluminium smelter. Provide tax incentives for exporters and research and development. Support for more prisoner programmes across the country to help prisoners rejoin society by building their skills and expertise through training and support initiatives.
Stop oil and gas extraction within five years and decommission sites by 2030. Ban seabed mining. Develop a national Maori strategy for renewable energy and clean technology. Stop water bottling consents until a water allocation system is agreed that honours Maori rights. Increase minimum wage to $25 per hour. Require a quarter of housing funding to go to Maori workers and organisations.